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Energy Matters: Q2/2017

In this issue of Energy Matters, read about:

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Case Studies from Ottawa

Ottawa Community Housing has a series of detailed conservation-related case studies on their website that provide great project insights:

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Province Drops Hydro Costs

Starting this summer, electricity costs will go down under Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan. The Province’s announcement refers to a 25% decrease in electricity costs. This total is comprised of:

  • The 8% rebate introduced in January
  • An additional 17% cut that will be reflected starting with bills issued in June

As part of the Plan, rate increases over the next four years will be held to the rate of inflation. The Plan offers additional reductions for low-income customers and those living in eligible rural communities. It also involves two electricity system fixes:

  • The Province will refinance capital investments in electricity infrastructure to ensure that system costs are more equitably distributed over time. Additionally, several programs, including the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), will now be funded by the government instead of by ratepayers.
  • The Province will launch a new Affordability Fund, enhance the existing OESP and Rural or Remote Rate Protection (RRRP) program, and provide on-reserve First Nations households with a delivery credit. These new measures will cost the government up to $2.5 billion over the next three years.

 

Ban On Disconnections

In February, the provincial legislature also passed the Protecting Vulnerable Energy Consumers Act, 2017, which strengthens the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) authority to ban disconnections of residential customer by electricity and gas distributors. The OEB immediately implemented a disconnection ban for the February to April billing period and required disconnected homes to be reconnected at no charge. The OEB intends to review its customer service rules, including rules on disconnections and those that provide special protection for low-income customers. HSC will monitor this process for opportunities for sector input.

Decreasing energy consumption still remains the best way to control utility costs. HSC has several programs to help reduce consumption, including energy benchmarking, resident engagement, retrofit and incentive support, and project management services.

If you’d like more information about how these energy-pricing changes will impact your costs or budget, contact us.

Read about Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan View the Protecting Vulnerable Energy Consumers Act, 2017 Contact HSC Energy Services

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Provincial Policy Updates

Deadline for Reporting Requirement Extended

The Province recently released revised reporting deadlines for its Large Building Energy & Water Benchmarking (EWRB) regulation. Housing providers will now report starting in 2019, instead of 2018. The extension gives them an extra year to prepare for compliance with the regulation.

The goal of EWRB is to improve the energy and water efficiency of buildings across Ontario. It applies to providers with multi-residential buildings of 10 or more units and is being implemented in stages by building size.

Revised Dates:

  • Buildings ≥ 100,000 sq. ft. report on 2018 data by July 1, 2019
  • Buildings ≤ 50,000 sq. ft. report on 2019 data by July 1, 2020

We will continue to share updates on guidelines as they become available. HSC’s Utility Management Program (UMP) can help housing providers meet EWRB requirements and identify emissions reduction projects.

Province Creates Climate Financing Agency

In March, we made a submission to the Province regarding the Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corporation (OCCSD), which will support the re-investment of cap and trade revenues under the Climate Change Action Plan, including programs for our sector.

Recently the Province has indicated to HSC that the first phase of OCCSD programs will not apply to social housing because specific funding for our sector was already outlined under the Climate Change Action Plan. We will share any future updates when they become available.

Read our submission View OCCSD Regulation 46/17

 

Having a Say in Future Funding Programs

With the completion of the first cap and trade auction in March, the Province can now move forward with developing funding programs to support the Climate Change Action Plan.

To support the Ministry of Housing in developing programs that fit our sector, HSC collected initial feedback from providers and Service Managers on SHARP and SHEEP and submitted a summary report to the Ministry in June 2016.

If you have further feedback or missed the last opportunity, we encourage you to provide your insights to HSC Energy Services. We can still include it as part of a follow-up sector summary report.

Submit Feedback

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HSC Energy Services On the Go

Since our last update, HSC Energy Services has been working with and for the sector on a variety of initiatives:

  • Electricity conservation incentives: Myfanwy Parry was appointed to the Independent Electricity System Operator’s Conservation First Mid-term Review Advisory Committee. The committee is focused on evaluating the progress of Ontario’s electricity conservation incentive programs since 2014. Myfanwy is working to ensure that social housing and low-income consumers are supported and can easily access incentives. To assist achieving this, she encourages providers and Service Managers to contact her with their suggestions on electricity incentive programs and dealing with electricity distributors might be improved.
  • We are working with the HSC Technical Services team on several SHARP and SHIP projects underway across Ontario now. We also have booked Community Champion Program resident engagement sessions for the spring and summer.
  • The Energy Service Stakeholder Advisory Committee met in February. The group struck two committees to help guide HSC’s energy-related advocacy efforts and provide input on selecting a new technology platform for UMP. Committee members also shared examples of technologies being tested in our sector, including microturbine generators.

Finally, HSC’s Director of Energy Services, Mike Parkes, will be leaving on April 21 to join Delta Energy Services as Vice-President, Energy Services Canada.

Mike joined HSC in the summer of 2014. During his time here, he has focused on the redesign of our natural gas program and the Energy Services division and has developed strong relationships with our clients.

On an interim basis, HSC CEO Howie Wong will take on oversight of the Energy Services with strong support from CFO Mara Di Pasquale (on gas purchasing and 2018 renewal) and Director of Strategy, Sarah Baker (on client and energy services program support).

Contact HSC Energy Services for more information

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