At Horizon Utilities Corporation, we're working hard to be the kind of electricity distribution company you want us to be - cleaner, progressive and focused on your future. Electricity utilities are playing a vital role in building a culture of conservation in Ontario. We're committed to helping create and grow this culture of conservation.
Helping customers with conservation efforts
Our efforts to promote conservation and sustainability with our customers and in our communities have resulted in some great results.
Since 2011, Horizon Utilities has placed $39,373,516 million of IESO incentives into our customers' hands through 25,000 projects. In 2015 Horizon had its best year on record for energy savings – a 40% increase in energy saving in 2015 from 2014. Incentives in 2015 totaled $15.7 million alone. The energy savings achieved was nearly 72 GWh - enough energy to power 7,500 Ontario homes for a year. 91% of these energy savings came from businesses.
In 2015 we attained 107% of our Ontario Energy Board (OEB) mandated customer energy consumption reduction target and achieved 81% of our customer energy demand reduction target. With a minimum 80% threshold of both targets – we earned $270,000 in incentive bonuses from the OEB – only 12 LDCs earned more than 80% on both. Horizon Utilities' total customer incentives earned in 2015 were $15,718,589.
It's not just incentive dollars that benefit our customers and our communities: Since 2013, the total economic contribution to Hamilton and St. Catharines (79%/21% split respectively) as a result of these conservation projects collectively total nearly $116 million dollars.
Hybrid vehicles and new technologies
Horizon Utilities was an early adopter in the introduction of hybrid vehicles into its fleet. Our first hybrid Escape was placed in service in 2005 and another seven were added the following year. Currently, in 2015, there are 10 Escapes in the fleet. While hybrid vehicles are considered superior in fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions, Horizon monitors and tests these perceptions. An early fuel consumption comparison of non-hybrid SUVs against the hybrid vehicles employed by Horizon found that the hybrid Escapes used considerably less fuel and emitted less CO2 gas.
In addition, Horizon has four hybrid bucket trucks in its fleet. These vehicles use approximately eight litres per 100 kilometres less fuel than other comparable bucket trucks. This translates to a reduction of approximately 3,900 litres of fuel and 10 metric tonnes of CO2 per year.
Horizon Utilities continually assesses new vehicle technologies and fuel sources as they become available, as a strategic initiative to reduce emissions in the replacement of our fleet.
The tandem axle, single bucket hybrid electric plug-in vehicle in our St. Catharines service centre was one of the first of its kind in Ontario. This bucket truck can operate the bucket boom, emergency warning lights, and cab heating and cooling systems for up to six hours at the job site on battery power alone. This system eliminates the need for idling, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
We have a vehicle and equipment anti-idling policy to support our commitment to reduce vehicle emissions — this is supported by a sophisticated Geographic Positioning System (GPS).
Horizon's Chevy Volt was introduced to the fleet in 2012. The lone hybrid plug-in car lives in the John Street location and serves as a general purpose vehicle. In addition to promoting electric vehicles, it uses very little fuel. In early 2015, the Volt had earned 12,139 kilometres and only used 311 litres of fuel which translates to about 2.5 litres per 100 kilometres. The car's battery is charged simply by plugging in the vehicle and when the plug's charge is used up (battery power only), it switches to the hybrid system (fuel and battery power).
Recycling, reducing, reusing
Horizon Utilities is committed to achieving waste reduction in its operations by collecting used batteries and aerosol cans. Horizon's battery recycling program, which also accepts old batteries from employees at work, is one small example of how the company is committed to ongoing behavioural change in moving to a cleaner environment. In 2015, more than 415 kilograms of lead acid batteries were collected for recycling, and another 180 kilograms of dry-cell batteries were redirected from landfill sites. We also collected 290 kilograms of aerosol cans from our drop-off bins for proper disposal.
We are monitoring and testing emissions from our transformers. The goal of our Transformer Oil Testing program is to have all active transformers under 2 parts per million (ppm) PCB levels, essentially enabling Horizon Utilities to make the claim that we are "PCB free". Currently, 82 per cent of our active transformers' PCB levels are already 2 ppm or under.