On November 27, 2018 Oshawa Power hosted its first Contractor Safety Day. The workshop hosted guest speakers from the Ministry of Labour (MOL), Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) and CHS Health & Safety Solutions Inc. Our speakers focussed on powerline safety, public and worker safety, and accident prevention. An alarming fact is that the province of Ontario suffered 5 electrical-related fatalities in 20171, all of which were preventable.

“Our message today is that we are here to support contractors who are conducting work in our service territory. We will assist them in their efforts to ensure the safest work environment possible when working around or near electrical infrastructure. Through education and communication we can maintain Oshawa’s stellar safety record. Prevention is key,” said Sarah Del Gatto, Health and Safety Manager, Oshawa Power.

The event was well attended by local contractors, safety professionals, and service providers. Oshawa Power in partnership with industry speakers and attendees took the first step in establishing industry relationships that strengthen our region’s resolve in achieving zero workplace incidents.  . Electrical safety is everyone’s responsibility.

“It was encouraging to see the level of interest and engagement among all attendees who are striving to improve safety through enhanced cooperation and communication. Safety is a culture that needs to be fostered and supported through industry leadership; Oshawa Power is here to do that for anyone working in our region. Our goal is to protect workers and the general public. Safety is paramount,” commented Matt Strecker, Vice President, Engineering and Operations.

Contractors who are performing any type of work around or near the electrical distribution system in Oshawa can call Oshawa Power for a safety consultation free of charge. Oshawa Power will help identify potential hazards, provide recommendations regarding safe work practices, and if necessary, provide a quote for any work that the utility may be required to do, in order to achieve safe working conditions, if the cost or scope required  exceeds  basic allowances outlined in the Conditions of Service.

Contractors also have access to a new website feature called Contractor’s Corner. Contractor’s Corner can be found on Oshawa Power’s homepage and provides easy access to service application forms, service upgrade forms, guidelines, requirements and any additional information relevant to contractors.

Attendees who participated in Contractor Safety Day include:

  • ABB
  • Black and Macdonald
  • Brass Inc.
  • Burman Energy
  • CFI Electric Ltd
  • Chin Fatt Ltd
  • Cliff Bruton Safety Consulting Inc
  • Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)
  • Enbridge Gas
  • Guillevin
  • Hayatt Electric Contracting
  • Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA)
  • Lamplighter Electric
  • Lit Electrical Contractors Inc.
  • Ministry of Labour (MOL)
  • Monteiro Electric
  • Ontario One Call
  • Professional Personnel & Skilled Trades
  • Superior Solutions Contracting
  • Tharanee Electrical Services
  • Townsend Electric
  • Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)
  • Westmore Poleline & Electric Inc.

 

 

1 Source: ESA and Coroner Records

Update – October 10, 2018:

We are receiving reports from multiple customers that they are in receipt of a text message stating they have a refund waiting for them for their hydro account coming from a phone number 1-613-572-5623.

These text messages are not from Oshawa Power and we do not use text message as a form of communication at this time. If you have any questions please call us at 905-723-4623. If you have been a victim of this scam please call the Fraud Unit at Durham Regional Police at (905) 579-1520, ext. 5232.

Originally Posted July 18, 2018

Oshawa Area Email Scam

Oshawa Power has received reports in our Customer Service department that some local customers have received fraudulent email messages with the subject “Email Interact Refund Hydro Bill Payment Notice”. These email messages claim there is a refund for you and instruct you to click on a link to provide personal information.  Oshawa Power does not send out refunds using text message or email communication.  Oshawa Power also does not solicit for private information over these channels.  If you have any question please do not hesitate to contact us at 905-723-4623 or email us at contactus@opuc.on.ca .

Phishing

This is a type of identity theft where criminals use email to try to bait you into fake or hoax websites. Once there, you are asked to disclose confidential financial and personal information, like passwords, credit card numbers, access codes or Social Insurance Numbers.

Emails tend to look authentic, featuring corporate logos and layouts similar to the ones used by institutions for legitimate communication. Because these emails can look so official, unsuspecting recipients may reply to them, resulting in financial losses, identity theft and other fraudulent activity.

Smishing

Scam artists have also found a way to send fraudulent messages to mobile phones. Smishing is similar to phishing, except that it is received via text message or SMS (Short Message Service).

Keep in mind all the points mentioned above when speaking about phishing. The intention behind text message phishing is the same as regular email phishing and the content and tone of the message is very similar.

Vishing

The term comes from “voice” and “phishing”. Vishing uses telephone communications in combination with email or the Internet to steal information and money from unsuspecting consumers. There are a few different methods con artists use. Typically you are contacted by either a recorded phone message or by email and directed to call a phone number or go to a website to enter personal information.

Always remember that Oshawa Power will never send you unsolicited emails or SMS messages asking for confidential information, such as your passwords, credit card and account numbers or personal identification numbers.

Oshawa, ON – Oshawa is experiencing a long heat wave that is increasing the electricity demand on the grid. So far this month we have seen an increase of 10% electricity demand over the same time period last year.  During times of extreme heat overall usage climbs due to air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and pools.  Conversely, our refrigerators and freezers work harder to maintain cooler temperatures.  As a result, Oshawa Power is preparing all residential and commercial customers to expect higher than normal bills.

Oshawa Power is sharing these tips to help keep your bills lower:

  • Check your account online and monitor your usage daily – don’t wait until your next bill to find out how much electricity you have used, find out now and make changes if necessary https://ecareets.opuc.on.ca/myDSM/login.asp
  • Instead of using a clothes dryer – hang your clothing outside
  • Close your blinds or curtains to keep out the sun’s heat
  • Instead of using your air conditioner, open your windows and turn on your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to circulate the air
  • Use a programmable thermostat, or turn the temperature up on your central air system when you are away from home
  • Turn on any ceiling fans or portable fans for air circulation
  • Use a timer on your pool pump and run in the off peak times
  • Don’t stand in front of an open fridge looking for a snack, try to keep the cool air in

Not finding relief at home from the heat?

Visit public places like a mall, recreation facilities, public libraries or Oshawa Senior Citizen branches to cool down.

Need help paying your bill?

Oshawa Power is available to assist you in managing your bill.  Please visit http://www.opuc.on.ca/need-help-paying-electricity-bill/ to learn more or reach out to Oshawa Power at 905-723-4623 to discuss your options.

Venturing outside?

Remember these heat safety tips:

  • Consider spending the hottest part of the day in public buildings that have air conditioning
  • Stay hydrated! Keep cool drinks with you while outside or in the car, if you are travelling
  • Cool down in the shade or cooling centres. If you’re at a pool, take a dip to cool off.
  • Be aware of the weather forecast, heat alerts and air quality reports
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen!
  • Check on vulnerable family members or neighbours to make sure they are ok
  • NEVER leave your children or pets in a parked car

Be prepared.

During times of extreme weather and demand additional strain is added to the grid.  As a result, the number of power outages can increase.  Oshawa Power will continue to work as quickly as possible to keep the power on for their customers.  Be prepared with an emergency items on hand including flashlights, radio, first aid, batteries, water, sunscreen, and food.  Learn more here: https://www.oshawa.ca/residents/develop-an-emergency-kit.asp

If you like to learn more about conservation or more safety tips please visit

www.opuc.on.ca/conservation

www.opuc.on.ca/safety-and-outages/

About Oshawa Power:

Part of the Oshawa Power & Utilities Corporation (OPUC) family of companies, Oshawa Power provides safe, reliable, and efficient electricity distribution services to over 58,000 customers within the City of Oshawa. Our company is an active member of the Oshawa community that continuously pursues innovative opportunities and solutions that deliver quality service, safety and low customer rates.  Oshawa Power is the recipient of a number of awards including the 2017 Electricity Distributors Association’s (EDA) Environmental Excellence Award, Hexagon SI’s Innovation Award in Infrastructure and the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association’s (IHSA) Certificate of Recognition (COR™) for three years standing.

To learn more about Oshawa Power or the OPUC family of companies please visit www.opuc.on.ca, follow us on Twitter @oshawapower or visit us on Facebook /oshawapower.

We are proud to announce that Oshawa Power is the winner of EDA’s 2017 Environmental Excellence Award for our work in the Solar Energy Management Systems Pilot Project.  The SEMS pilot project has been extremely successful and is bringing our industry invaluable information that will help shape energy solutions for the future.  As we enter into the next phase of this pilot it is an honour to have the hard work and dedication to bringing our customers innovative solutions be recognized by our industry.

Oshawa Power strives to bring the best customer service to our customers.  As we plan and improve the overall customer service currently offered we would like to hear from you about your experience.  We actively use feedback to constantly improve our delivery and provide you with the best possible service.  So we can provide you an even better experience we are collecting feedback on how we performed in your contact with us.

Oshawa Power has introduced a Customer Service Satisfaction (CSAT) survey that integrates with our telephone system.  In your next phone call to us you will be offered an opportunity to answer a quick 2 question survey at the end of the call which provides us immediate feedback.  Your feedback will let us know areas that we are excelling and areas that we need development.  We encourage you to use this service and help us to deliver the best customer service.

Thank you

Oshawa Power

Customer Service Team

Oshawa Power is proud to be this year’s winner of Hexagon SI’s 2018 Safety and Infrastructure’s Innovation Award for our Outage Management system.

Oshawa Power’s Outage Management System connects existing utility technology AMI, SCADA, CIS and GIS to identify outages, predict outages,  and communicate outages.  With the focus on improving reliability, reducing outage times and improving customer communications our team along with Hexagon’s collaborated together to provide the customers of Oshawa with better service and reliability.  Part of this project is deploying Intelligent Switches, sectionalizing areas with defective equipment and restoring as many customers in many cases before 1 minute.  Oshawa Power uses real data from AMI meter outage messages (outage/restore) timestamps as our benchmark for when the outage starts and ends.

This is a significant achievement, crew response time improved, dramatic increases in our reliability, notification from our OMS was accurate, and communicating the outages to our outage map, IVR system and social media was seamless all as a result of good engineering and system network analysis.

In 2017 we sent out approximately 250 tweets with power outage details and our social media audience grew 27% and 18% for Facebook and Twitter respectively as a result of informative outage notification posts.   The predictive dialer called 42,000 customers in 2017 to inform them of power outages in their area.

Historically only 5%-10% of total outages would be planned.  Planned outages are mainly to perform infrastructure maintenance and preventative upgrades to avoid any unplanned outages.  Planned outages are preferred as the utility can plan their resources in a more efficient manner and the outage duration is kept to a minimum.  Unplanned outages are time consuming as crews with the assistance of Operations have to patrol first to identify location and cause of the outage before being able to repair.  In 2017 with the OMS fully functional we reported to have 61% planned outages and with the accuracy of the system unplanned outage duration was drastically reduced with the elimination of patrolling since the system can direct the crews to the device causing the outage.

These achievements were not done by investing in new technology platforms but by utilizing existing platforms and resources available and make them work for us to improve service and reliability for the customers of Oshawa.   Currently we are the only utility that automatically dispatches crews based on the OMS without the involvement of an operator.  This allows us to deliver more to our customers for the same cost. Oshawa Power is proud to be leading the industry with forward-thinking, customer-focused approaches!

About Hexagon
Hexagon is a leading global provider of information technologies that drive productivity and quality across geospatial and industrial enterprise applications.  Hexagon’s solutions integrate sensors, software, domain knowledge and customer workflows into intelligent information ecosystems that deliver actionable information. They are used in a broad range of vital industries.

 

Some customers affected by billing delay

Please be advised, electricity invoices for customers who normally receive their monthly bills between the 16th and 31st will be delayed for January.  We fully expect to have the situation remedied very soon and all January bills are expected to be delivered no later than February 8th.  Affected customers will receive invoices for only the delayed billing period however, due to the delay, some of those customers may receive two invoices in the month of February. Overdue service charges will be waived and there will be no interruption of service resulting for a period of time to accommodate the billing delays. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience.

Please be aware that for the next six weeks, Oshawa Power is undertaking a Public Awareness of Electrical Safety Survey as part of our electricity distributor scorecards. The survey will take approximately five minutes to complete and will cover safety topics related to power lines, green transformer boxes and more.  To establish the required sample of participants basic demographic information will be requested however please take note that we will not be asking for any identifying information such as hydro account number, home address, and credit card or banking information.

Utility Pulse, on behalf of Oshawa Power, will be carrying out the survey via telephone. If you receive a call, please consider participating. Your responses will help us better target our public safety communications to Oshawa residents.

Results from the survey will be included in Oshawa Power’s annual scorecard, set to be released this fall.  Should you have any questions please contact our office by phone at 905-723-4623 or by email at contactus@opuc.on.ca and we will be happy to help you.  For further information on the Public Awareness of Electrical Safety Survey, please visit the Ontario Energy Board.

To see Oshawa Power’s past scorecards visit Oshawa Power’s Regulatory Affairs page and for more information on Electricity Distributor Scorecards, visit the Ontario Energy Board.