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Electricity Distributors Association offers 6-point plan to save millions


August 9, 2012
By Anthony Capkun

August 9, 2012 – Allowing distributors to offer more utility services, curtailing electricity retailers’ activities with residential customers, promoting voluntary mergers of utilities and improving industry regulation are key recommendations to the Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel.

The Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) met with the Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel to outline a 6-point plan that will save Ontario electricity consumers more than $540 million each year. The association’s 150-page submission details how the province can realize the full potential of its electricity distribution system and achieve efficiencies that will benefit customers and communities.

“Our submission details how, with the right changes, the government could reduce customer bills by close to 5% and improve the distribution system in Ontario at the same time,” said Max Cananzi, EDA chair. “LDCs can deliver more than just electricity; by growing and delivering more services to their communities, they can be even more efficient which will lead to savings for customers.”

The 6-point plan examines all aspects of the distribution sector, says EDA, including operations, ownership, regulation, and new and emerging technologies to find ways to make the sector more efficient.

“There are definitely savings to be had through mergers and amalgamations if done correctly—we estimate about $50-million worth—but it doesn’t end there,” said Charlie Macaluso, president and CEO of EDA. “We dug deeper and identified greater and more significant savings of nearly a half-a-billion dollars that could come from improved regulation, a keener focus on the customer and encouraging distributors to grow.”

Capturing the $540-million per year in savings will depend on whether the government will make the following changes in the electricity distribution industry, says EDA:

1. Allow LDCs to manage water and wastewater services ($180 million).
2. Permit LDCs to carry out streetlight maintenance work in their communities ($15 million).
3. Let LDCs take the lead in designing and developing conservation and demand management programs that make sense for their customers and communities instead of today’s centrally planned, one-size-fits-all programs ($20 million).
4. Improve industry regulations ($15 million).
5. Curtail energy retailers in the residential sector ($260 million).
6. Promote the voluntary mergers of LDCs ($50 million).

The full version of “Power to Deliver: Recommendations for the Future of Electricity Distribution in Ontario” is available on the association’s website at www.eda-on.ca.