Distribution System Performance
In early April, Elexicon Energy filed its new consolidated 2021-2026 Distribution Systems Plan (“DSP”) with the Ontario Energy Board (“OEB”). Customer input and feedback was received by way of a survey and integrated into the plan to ensure we made the right investments to meet the needs of our communities at the right time.
We operate a sophisticated electricity distribution network that features intelligent monitoring systems and automated controls. At the heart of this system are a team of highly skilled engineers and operators who monitor the flow of electricity across a network of 7,184 kilometres of overhead lines and underground cables. In order to keep our system running smoothly, we continued to invest in proactive prevention strategies this year. They included: insulator washing; tree trimming; wildlife mitigation; and thermographic inspection of distribution system apparatus to identify hot spots before they result in outages.
In 2021, we achieved an Average System Availability Index of 99.99 per cent and a System Average Interruption Duration Index of 1.17 hours.
In the event that an outage cannot be restored remotely we have crews available in all of our service territories that can be dispatched quickly to investigate the cause, make repairs and restore power to the customer quickly.
Average System Availability Index
System Average Interruption Duration Index
System Average Interruption Frequency Index
2.45 momentary interruptions
Momentary Average Interruption Frequency Index
Employee and Community Health & Safety during COVID-19
As an essential service during the pandemic, the following measures and safety protocols were implemented:
- To keep our essential workers safe (i.e. linepersons, meter technicians, mechanics etc.) employees who could perform their job from home were asked to work from home and were provided with the right tools
- Mandatory Self-Screening using our new GoEvo app installed on mobile or desktop devices
- Safe distancing measures and masking
- Weekly on-site COVID-19 testing for employees whose jobs were deemed critical and ‘as needed’ for asymptomatic employees. More than 1,500 tests were administered in 2021.
- Company-owned vehicles were restricted to single occupancy. Additionally, field crews were placed in established cohorts and crossing districts and/or crews was strongly discouraged.
- All in-person meetings were suspended and virtual meetings were put in place
- Regular updates from the Health, Safety & Environment team, including information on how and where to get vaccinated. The team was also available by phone and email 24/7.
- Investments in new technologies, collaboration tools, equipment and furniture to optimize employee work satisfaction and communication for remote working.
- Frequent communications through our bi-weekly newsletter
- Health and Wellness programs to help employees and their families manage mental health and wellness throughout the pandemic.
We are proud of our reputation in the community. In early January, UtilityPULSE, an independent survey company, conducted a customer satisfaction telephone survey of its customers, as required by the Ontario Energy Board (“OEB”) every two years. Elexicon Energy scored 97 per cent for customer satisfaction, among the highest in the industry.
We continued to work hard to ensure the merger of our two predecessor utilities, Veridian Connections and Whitby Hydro was viewed positively by community and customer. In mid- January customers received a new-look bill statement with a clean, simple and straightforward design to better explain the cost of supplying power and how much electricity was used within the billing period. Our team of knowledgeable and professional customer service advisors were able to help over 85,500 customers in 2021, answering calls on a number of issues that range from billing inquiries to arranging new service connections. Our Customer Experience team also successfully integrated our customer information systems (“CIS”) and began reviewing current processes to find new ways to improve the way we serve our customers through their entire lifecycle while also enhancing data driven capabilities. Based on our review, we will be upgrading our CIS as well as implementing a new telephony system in 2022 to enhance the customer experience.
In 2021, we also started the process of augmenting our online capabilities by enhancing our social media presence and response levels via channels like Twitter and LinkedIn while also developing a new mobile-first website. Customers were engaged at the start of the process to ensure the design, navigation and content would meet growing digital expectations. When the site launches in the summer 2022, a new Resource Hub and navigation flow will make finding information simple and easy. It will also have Live Chat capabilities so customers can reach a customer care advisor directly from our new website.
In 2021, planning got underway to develop a new Operations Centre in Belleville. This new facility will enable our power line crews to better service the more eastern sections of our service territories, acting as a central hub for the communities energy needs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked closely with our government and regulatory partners to ensure the lights were able to stay on for those who felt the impact of the pandemic the most, distributing approximately $770,000 in support to both our residential and small business partners through the CEAP and CEAP Small Business Programs.
We are a strong economic development partner of the Ajax Pickering Board of Trade and Whitby and Clarington Chamber of Commerce and play an active role in the business community in many of our other service territories.
We believe it is our responsibility to be a force for good and positive change, which is why you can find many of our executives and employees actively participating in our community by volunteering on committees, boards, not-for-profit charities and organizations.
We deliver much needed assistance through corporate sponsorships programs and our Corporation’s Corporate Giving Program which Elexicon Energy administers. In 2021 a total $350,000 in funding was provided to a number of local charities and organizations that enhance the health and well-being of our planet, people and communities.
“As the Ajax Pickering hospital continues to grow, women’s health care remains at the forefront of programs and services offered including obstetrics, gynecology, breast assessment and cancer care. Thanks to Elexicon Energy’s support, our hospital can continue to look after you, our friends, our mothers, sisters, daughters and granddaughters.” – Tracy L. Paterson CEO, Ajax Pickering Hospital Foundation
“The United Way in Durham Region is grateful to Elexicon Energy for their support of our Operation Backpack. There can be no doubt that early childhood educational support plays a critical role in helping to battle the burdens of cyclical poverty.” – Robert Howard, Chief Possibility Officer & Vice President, External Relations, United Way Durham Region
“Elexicon Energy’s support of Our Cancer Campaign is funding research, education, capital projects and equipment that will advance cancer care for our families, friends and neighbours throughout our region and beyond.” – Steve MacDonald, Director, Development & Campaigns, Lakeridge Health Foundation
“The mission of the Quinte Regional Science and Technology Fair is to encourage, foster enthusiasm, develop self-confidence, inspire and support an interest in science, technology and engineering for the youth in our area, and to provide our students with the opportunity and skills to foster a lifelong love of science. With funds from Elexicon Energy, the City of Belleville/Elexicon award is given to the project at each level (Gr. 4-6, 7-8, 9-12) that best demonstrates information or an experiment that pertains to fish/animals, their habitat, protection or invasive species.” – Christopher Spencer, Co-Chair, Quinte Regional Science and Technology Fair
We are preparing for a world that reaches net zero emissions by 2050 with electrification playing a starring role in our energy transition economy. This includes a net zero grid by 2035. We believe electric vehicles, behind the meter solutions and Distributed Energy Resources will start to shape our future and the future utility. So do our customers. In 2021 we commissioned an engagement survey to learn more about how Elexicon’s investment plan can best reflect the needs and preferences of our customers. The information was used to inform investment decision-making and our five-year Distribution System Plan.
Key projects Elexicon Energy completed and/or began in 2021
New Transformer Station in Seaton
Construction started on the Seaton Municipal Transformer Station in north Pickering. This major project is several years in the making and will be the first time Elexicon Energy will own a municipal transformer station. Ownership will decrease our reliance on Hydro One and provide connection capacity for renewable energy resources to a community of over 32,000 new customers. The station is expected to be operational by late 2022.
Canada’s First Pre-Planned Micro grid
In 2021 Elexicon Energy launched Canada’s first residential, nested community micro grid. In addition to being connected to the local grid, the community micro grid uses energy produced by rooftop solar panels and stored in a lithium-ion battery controlled and monitored by advanced software and communications systems from Elexicon Energy’s System Control Centre. In the future this additional source of energy will be used in the event of a blackout to maintain a reliable source of energy for the 27 homeowners and can also be fed into the grid to help residents offset their electricity costs once operationalized. Elexicon was awarded with two Innovation Leadership Awards from the Canadian Electricity Association Centre of Excellence for this smart community micro grid.
Regional Bus Rapid Transit
In order to enable construction of dedicated Rapid Transit Bus Lanes in the Hwy #2 corridor of Pickering Elexicon Energy began engineering assessments and design work in 2021 to relocate existing underground feeder infrastructure located in the right of way intended for the bus lanes.
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