Powering a world-class city into the future depends on the work being done today. In 2016, we continued to make improvements to our grid, customer service, emergency preparedness, sustainability initiatives and community outreach.

As always, we worked hard to create an electricity distribution system that’s safer, more reliable and increasingly innovative in order to provide the highest quality of service to our customers. We continued to provide our customers with enhanced online tools, more community events and important safety tips. Internally, we took steps to better prepare for emergencies while educating the public on how they can prepare too.

The work we accomplished in 2016 will help pave the way for a brighter Toronto. We’re proud of our progress and we’ll continue to build on our efforts to support the homes, businesses and communities that rely on our grid every day.

Grid Investment

Day or night, Toronto Hydro’s electricity distribution system provides the strong foundation for the connected lifestyle we all enjoy, enabling transportation, communications and growth. As Canada’s financial and business capital, our city is expected to continue to experience unprecedented growth, and with that, an increased demand on electricity infrastructure. We’re committed to meeting the needs of all Toronto residents and businesses. That’s why we’re investing heavily in renewing our aging infrastructure to address reliability and safety, and to safeguard our system against extreme weather events.

We have a long-term plan to invest in the grid gradually, spreading out costs and easing rate pressures. These investments, along with our innovative projects and strategic planning, will help power Toronto’s future.

How we’re improving the grid:

  • In 2016, we invested $551.7 million to address safety, reliability and customer service requirements – a $14.5 million increase from last year

  • Since 2010, the average number of service interruptions improved by approximately 21% and the average duration of interruptions improved by approximately 26%

  • We continued work on Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, only the second underground transformer station of its kind in Canada. This year, we reached another major milestone, installing two 155-tonne transformers in the station. Once complete, Copeland Station will add the electricity capacity of approximately 70 condos to the grid, while preserving public green space with its unique design

  • We arranged incentive funding to help Campbell Company of Canada (Campbell Canada) install a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) project. The CHP technology provides an on-site source of energy independent from the electrical grid and helps Campbell Canada save on electricity costs as well as provides it with a reliable emergency backup power

  • We continued to streamline the process of connecting solar projects to our electricity grid to help customers complete their projects more quickly and easily. As a result, Toronto Hydro received the 2016 Game Changer Solar Service Excellence award from the Canadian Solar Industries Association. In 2016, we interconnected 250 solar projects representing approximately 14.6 MW, the equivalent to removing 1,600 homes off the grid. With an aging infrastructure, renewable generation like solar can help increase our asset lifespan and meet peak capacity needs in the summer

  • With Hydrostor, we continue to monitor the world’s first underwater compressed air energy storage system located in Lake Ontario. Part of a pilot project, this technology works by running electricity through a compressor and converting it into compressed air. The compressed air is sent underwater where it’s stored in large balloon-like structures, made out of the same type of material used in marine lift bags to raise shipwrecks. When electricity is needed again, the weight of the water pushes the air to the surface through a large pipe and an expander converts the air back into electricity. Currently, the “underwater battery” is undergoing upgrades and its performance will be evaluated through 2017

  • With Ryerson University, eCamion and the Government of Ontario, we’re testing a new form of energy storage on a pole-top battery, which stores electricity during off-peak hours and releases power to help improve reliability through an automatic response to incoming data from smart meters. This technology acts as a temporary backup source during outages and detects when the transformer is overloaded so the equipment isn’t strained, extending its lifespan. Since the unit has been installed, we’ve been monitoring how it responds to real-time data from smart meters

  • We’re a member of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) Central Toronto Working Group for its Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP), which looks at where the demand for electricity is growing and how this can be managed over the next 25 years. As a member, we regularly participate in IRRP meetings and provide advice on the development of plan options, including innovative solutions to address Toronto’s future electricity needs
Learn more about the grid.

Customer Service

As an electric utility, our job doesn’t end at keeping the lights on. Excellent customer care goes beyond providing reliable service to understanding and responding to the evolving needs and expectations of our customers.

That’s why we’re constantly making improvements — managing our services from the customer’s point of view, and making sure that it’s simple, easy and convenient to do business with us. We continue to offer a variety of engagement and transaction options, providing customers with 24/7 access to our services. Recognizing that some families struggle with paying their electricity bills, we promote awareness and help them register for various electricity assistance programs.

As well, we continue to remind customers about the importance of safety around electrical equipment through our annual electrical safety campaign. Customer-focused service quality is considered in every decision we make.

  • We introduced monthly billing, as required by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), making it easier for customers to manage their household budget and offering a more current view of how their electricity habits impact their bills

  • To lower costs and positively impact sustainability, we focused on increasing the number of customers on eBills, with a 47% increase in 2016, resulting in 25% of our customers now on paperless billing

  • We implemented new and enhanced online self-serve options. As a result, customers are choosing to use our digital channels more frequently, leading to a 16% increase in usage between 2015 and 2016

  • We launched a new residential outage notification program, which provides customers with outage updates and restoration timelines

  • In 2016, our call centre was able to resolve customers’ concerns in the first call 86% of the time, a 2% improvement from the previous year

  • We exceeded our regulator’s bill accuracy threshold of 98%

  • Through community outreach events, we promote awareness and help our vulnerable customers to register for a variety of programs to assist them with their electricity bills, including the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and Home Assistance Program (HAP)

  • To promote our residential programs and services, an Embedded Community Outreach Coordinator has been located at various social housing agencies throughout the city, specifically priority neighbourhoods since March 2016. There, we provide customers on modest incomes or in arrears with information on OESP, LEAP and HAP

  • In 2016, we launched the Joint Home Assistance Program/Home Winterization Pilot in collaboration with Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. Through this pilot, customers are screened for both programs and benefit from a single audit visit, instead of two separate ones

  • We continued to offer targeted programs to help our customers save energy. In 2016, we launched our Smart Thermostat Program in collaboration with Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc., and also worked with Enersource, Hydro One Brampton and Oakville Hydro to deliver instant discounts on LED light bulbs
  • Our key account team managed the relationships with our largest business customers across all sectors to provide customized energy saving opportunities and offer specific solutions to meet their business needs

  • We introduced live streaming through Periscope and Facebook Live as another way to reach our customers. In February, we broadcasted our electrical safety media event online. During the summer, we live streamed a demonstration of how to put together an emergency preparedness kit, and also gave customers a behind-the-scenes look at our control room to show how we manage electricity at peak times

  • We launched a new electrical safety campaign to educate residents on how to stay safe around electrical equipment. The campaign focused on five key areas: overhead wires, underground cables, transformer boxes, downed powerlines and powerlines on cars

  • We received an Ontario Electrical Safety Authority award for Powerline Safety, in recognition of our live demonstration on how to safely react if powerlines land on your vehicle. For the demonstration, we worked with Toronto Fire Services to re-create a collision scene involving a car hitting a hydro pole

  • We continued to offer electrical safety tips online, in our newsletters and at events to increase the electrical safety knowledge of our customers. For Powerline Safety Week in May, we created an animated video to remind customers about the potential dangers of electrical equipment around their home

Learn more about our customer care initiatives.

Emergency Preparedness

We can’t control the weather, but we can control how we respond to it. That’s why we continue to implement our Grid Emergency Management (GEM) project and work with various utilities and stakeholders across Canada and the U.S. to better prepare for any major storms. We also know it’s important for Torontonians to be prepared, so we continue to educate our customers on emergency preparedness to help them stay safe and comfortable in the case of an emergency.

  • We implemented Phase 2 of our GEM project, developed in 2014 to improve our emergency readiness and response, which included publishing our new emergency management plans, developing a roster for key emergency roles, and training senior management and front line staff on new emergency plans and processes

  • In September, we hosted the third annual Canadian Mutual Assistance Group (CANMAG) meeting, with the goal of enhancing planning for sharing resources with other utilities during emergencies

  • We continue to maintain a strong, proactive role as a member of the North Atlantic Mutual Assistance Group (NAMAG). In October, we attended the fall NAMAG Conference, which brought together utilities in provinces and states along the north-east that have formally agreed to assist each other during emergencies
  • We encouraged Torontonians to create or check their 72-hour emergency kit throughout the year, through tips we shared at community events, in our newsletters and on social media

  • As part of an awareness campaign for Emergency Preparedness Week in May, we published a series of emergency “hack” videos, using common items found around the home, to help our customers stay safe and comfortable during emergencies. The videos generated almost 80,000 views online in the first week and received media coverage from several mainstream news outlets. A survey showed that residents who recalled our emergency preparedness campaign were almost four times as likely to have a complete emergency preparedness kit at home
  • We meet on a regular basis with stakeholders such as the City of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management, the provincial Office of the Fire Marshall, Emergency Management Ontario and the Independent Electricity System Operator’s Emergency Preparedness Task Force. Fostering these relationships helps us build a strong local network of support for responding to emergencies

  • We supplied more than 700 vulnerable residents at over 140 community events with emergency kits, which included flashlights, compact radios, checklists and additional resources to help them prepare for emergencies
Learn more about our emergency preparedness initiatives.

Sustainability Initiatives

Sustainability is part of our corporate culture, business strategy and daily operations. It’s managing our triple bottom line – financial, social and environmental risks – while fulfilling our obligations and leveraging opportunities. Recognized as a Sustainable Electricity Company™ by the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), we made sure to pursue strategic projects to eliminate waste. In fact, our efforts were recognized with the CEA’s 2016 Integrated Approach to Sustainability Award. Although we’re proud to be recognized with these prestigious honours, we operate a sustainable business because we strongly believe that it is the right thing to do.

In addition to having an integrated strategy, we also aim to constantly build upon our sustainability initiatives. This year – for the first time – we’re sharing an annual comparison of our sustainability results to demonstrate the progress we’ve made. Whether it’s through paper savings or conservation programs, we’re committed to sustainability to help improve the lives of Torontonians and the health of our planet.

  • This year, we continued to help our residential, small business, industrial and commercial customers become more energy-efficient through our Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) programs. These programs led to an estimated energy savings of 273,200 MWh1 (the equivalent of taking 36,720 homes off the grid) and reduced summer peak demand by 32.5 MW. They also helped reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the city by 11,200 tCO2e

  • Since last year, 50% more customers signed up for paperless billing. In 2016, we had 96,220 customer sign-ups and saved approximately 865,980 sheets of paper as a result

  • To raise awareness and participation about our conservation programs and online services, we met directly with our customers at over 280 events including business tradeshows, Earth Week celebrations, the City’s Environment Days, community festivals and in-store activities with The Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Lowe’s, generating 57,000 interactions in total

  • Our total GHG emissions were 40,318 tCO2e, a decrease of 37% compared to 2015

  • Over 2,500 tonnes of concrete and 400 tonnes of steel were salvaged, reused and diverted from landfill in the construction of our new operating facility, the David M. Williams Centre. We also diverted 62% of waste furniture from landfill

  • In December 2015, Toronto Hydro underwent and passed its first re-certification audit for the International Organization for Standardization’s Environmental Management Systems Standard (ISO 14001:2004) and the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSAS 18001:2007) certificates. This marks the fourth consecutive year that Toronto Hydro has been certified to these stringent internationally recognized standards for environmental and occupational management systems

  • We continued to automate and use electronic forms instead of paper, and set duplex printing as default for most of our printers. One automation initiative was the implementation of “MyTime”, a platform allowing electronic submission of employee time sheets and leave requests. These initiatives reduced paper consumption in 2016 by approximately 2,415,480 sheets of paper and led to a reduction in life-cycle GHGs of approximately 8 tCO2e

  • We implemented a waste reduction program entitled “Waste No More” to increase the amount of waste generated at our work centres that’s diverted from landfill through effective source separation and reduction of materials entering waste streams. We increased the amount of waste diverted from landfill from 49% in 2013 to 64% in 2016

  • We continued to install the Governor to Reduce Idle and Pollution (GRIP) Idle Management System on our vehicles and downsized our fleet by 17 vehicles. The cumulative 2016 savings, relative to 2013, associated with these initiatives are: 30% reduction in total fuel consumed; 28% reduction in GHG emissions; 26% reduction in kilometres travelled; and 29% reduction in total non-PTO idling hours2

  • In addition to recycling solid non-hazardous waste from our facilities, we’ve been recycling wood poles removed from service, fluorescent lights, batteries and electronic waste. We diverted 490 metric tonnes of wood poles from landfill

We’d like to share our performance for some of our sustainability initiatives by highlighting results from the past two years:

Learn more about our sustainability efforts.

1 2016 CDM energy and peak demand savings have not yet been verified by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Final results will be available in July 2017 following an IESO evaluation

2 Some of Toronto Hydro’s vehicles (e.g. bucket trucks) require engines to be kept on (idling) in order to charge and operate the vehicle hydraulics. This is referred to as Power Take Off (“PTO”) idling time

3 Approximately 90% of our fuel vendors are able to code fuel types, but some smaller vendors cannot distinguish fuel purchases from other purchases

Community Outreach

We're part of the fabric of life in Toronto and take great pride in giving back to our community.

That’s why we continue to fundraise for important causes, sponsor local groups and events, and pursue programming that enhances community safety. In 2016, we helped make Toronto’s communities safer and more energy-efficient through our Brighter Nights™ program and proudly raised money for United Way and Sunnybrook’s Ross Tilley Burn Centre. These initiatives help connect us to the work being done across the city to brighten Toronto’s future.

  • For the third year in a row, we hosted our annual charity golf tournament, raising $800,000 through our partners and sponsors in support of Sunnybrook’s Ross Tilley Burn Centre – the largest state-of-the-art burn treatment centre in Canada – for a total of $1.8 million raised in three years
  • Our employees raised more than $144,000 for United Way Toronto and York Region, and we received a 2016 United Way Spirit Award in recognition of our employee campaign

  • In September, a group of Toronto Hydro employees from United Way’s GenNext group participated in ACCES Employment’s Speed Mentoring event with newcomers to Canada

  • For the first time, Toronto Fire Services joined us at two Brighter Nights™ community events, promoting neighbourhood safety, and fire awareness and prevention. We replaced nearly 500 old, burned out or inefficient porch lights with more energy-efficient bulbs, which cost very little to keep on overnight, helping make the community safer. The Brighter Nights™ program is a joint effort with the City of Toronto’s Community Crisis Response Program, Toronto Community Housing, Toronto Police Service, Toronto Fire and local volunteers

  • We attended over 40 councillor-hosted events promoting a cleaner, greener and more livable Toronto, where we distributed coupons for energy-efficient products, conservation tips, information on programs for families on modest incomes, and emergency preparedness brochures
  • We continued to sponsor several community groups and events including: Cavalcade of Lights, the Kids’ World of Energy Festival, Live Green, and LEAF’s Backyard Tree Planting Program

  • In Bayview Village Park, Toronto Hydro employees, along with their friends and families, planted over 350 trees and shrubs for our Annual Tree Planting Event. Since 2004, we’ve planted more than 3,900 trees across the city
Learn more about our community outreach initiatives.
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