Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) Announces Electricity Utility Award Winners

Industry Awards Presented at EDA Annual Meeting, Including EDA OPG LDC Performance Excellence Award Sponsored by Ontario Power Generation

TORONTO, March 19, 2013 /CNW/ - The Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual industry awards which were presented last night, March 18th, at the EDA's Annual General Meeting in Toronto.

"Ontario's local electricity distribution companies are always looking to improve their programs and performance level," said Charlie Macaluso, EDA President and CEO. "Ontario's electricity utilities have a long and proud history of outstanding service to communities across this province. It is an honor for this Association to present our annual awards recognizing some of the leaders in our sector."

The EDA's Local Distribution Company (LDC) Performance Excellence Award, sponsored by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) was presented to Burlington Hydro.

Burlington Hydro distinguished itself among its peers in overall performance excellence in the following areas: occupational health and safety, operational excellence, financial operations, retail strategies for conservation and demand management, and for contributions to the community.

"As the sponsor of the LDC Performance Excellence Award, Ontario Power Generation is pleased to congratulate this year's winner, Burlington Hydro Inc.," said Tom Mitchell, OPG's President and CEO.  "Its commitment to achieving excellence and continuous improvement across all aspects of its business adds value to the community and contributes to a productive, sustainable Ontario."

Burlington Hydro works in partnership with like-minded industry and institutional partners in order to realize greater efficiencies and integrate new ideas that improve operations and ensure sustainability. The company is strategically aligned with the City of Burlington as it relates to responsible power management and energy sustainability and is working cooperatively to complement a key City strategy to "promote and encourage lower community energy consumption."

Other electricity utility companies receiving EDA awards last night included:

EDA Innovation Award - Communications: Toronto Hydro-Electric System Ltd. - Toronto Hydro developed a communications strategy to raise awareness about their corporate responsibility initiatives. The utility leveraged extensive stakeholdering, traditional media, direct-to-customer newsletters and social media to help raise awareness and support for their efforts. Toronto Hydro has been producing Corporate Responsibility Reports since 2002, but decided they needed a comprehensive communications strategy to raise awareness of the report and their sustainability initiatives. Measurement and evaluation in a number of areas confirmed the success of the strategy.

EDA Innovation Award - Public Relations: PowerStream Inc. - The "Follow the Smart Grid to Win" campaign was designed to increase awareness among customers of Smart Grid and its benefits and promote use of PowerStream's social media properties. The effort included a contest requiring customers to follow PowerStream on Twitter to learn about the benefits of smart grid and the number of followers more than doubled during the campaign. The campaign came in under budget and went from concept to completion in just six weeks.  PowerStream noted that this type of campaign is easily adaptable for use by any LDC wanting to increase awareness and/or use of social media by customers.

EDA Innovation Award - Customer Service: Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. - The "Go Paperless" program successfully used a multi-channel communication strategy that reached out to all customers to make them aware of options for paperless billing and pre-authorized payments. Strategies included community outreach at local events, bill inserts, in-office banners and both social and traditional media. A community television broadcast provided an opportunity to launch the Go Paperless program. The initiative increased pre-authorized payment customers by 45% and e-bill registration by 31%, at the same time decreasing call centre volume.

EDA Environmental Excellence Award: Horizon Utilities - The "Energy Density Mapping Project" was designed to identify which customers will benefit the most from Conservation and Demand management initiatives. The project correlated individual customer electricity use with building attributes such as square footage, building age, heating and AC, as well as with demographic data. The project is expected to assist the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and other LDCs in achieving conservation and demand targets.

The Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) is the voice of Ontario's local electricity distributors, the publicly and privately owned companies that safely and reliably deliver electricity to over 4.8 million Ontario homes, businesses and public institutions.

SOURCE: Electricity Distributors Association

For further information:

For more information on the EDA Awards, contact the EDA's Corporate Affairs and Communications Coordinator, Yasmin Heyat at (905) 265-5323.

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