Respect the Power: Powerline Safety Awareness Week

May 11-17, 2019 urges Ontarians to be mindful of powerlines

Powerline Safety Awareness Week in Ontario is a time to be reminded of the importance of staying clear of overhead and underground powerlines, particularly when working, doing household chores or having fun outside.

Tragically every year people in Ontario are killed or critically injured from contact with powerlines and electrical utility equipment,” said Scott Saint, ESA’s Chief Public Safety Officer. “We need everyone to recognize and respect the power and take some simple, yet life-saving safety precautions.”

“As the Victoria Day long weekend approaches, I urge all Ontarians to take a moment to increase their own and their family’s powerline safety knowledge,” said David Orazietti, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “Taking the time to learn more now can prevent a tragedy later.”

Five Ways to Respect the Power

    1. Locate the lines. Before starting any outdoor job whether at work or at home, first look up, look out and locate. Then keep track of where they are as you move around so you’re always mindful of the powerlines.
    2. Keep yourself and equipment a safe distance away.For the kind of powerlines that connect a house to the poles on the street, keep yourself and any equipment (ladders, pruners, tall vehicles, etc.) at least one metre away.  For the higher voltage lines that run down streets, stay at least three metres away.  Not only is making contact very dangerous but even coming close to the line can cause the electricity to jump or ‘arc’ through the air and contact you or your equipment.
    3. Never attach or drape anything on a powerline.Never brace a ladder against a line or near its point of contact to a building. Don’t run other lines like antennas or cables on or near powerlines. And never grab a line for balance when working at heights.
    4. Carry equipment horizontally. Carry ladders, pruners and other long equipment on their side, not vertically as they could connect or attract arcing from an overhead line.
    5. Plant trees away from overhead powerlines. If your trees have grown into or close to powerlines, contact your local utility. Do not trim trees around powerlines yourself. And call before you dig to ensure underground cables and other utility equipment are located and marked.

    For more tree trimming and landscaping tips, visit esasafe.com.

    Test your Electrical Safety Knowledge with the below Myths& Facts:

    MYTH:  I’m just trimming tree limbs, I won’t be using a ladder so I don’t need to worry.

    FACT:   Anything that touches a powerline – a pruning tool, the tree limb or your hand can give you a shock, burn or kill you. Better idea: call an arborist or your local electric utility and have one of their trained arborists trim the tree for you safely.

    MYTH:  I’m just digging a couple of feet into the ground. I don’t need to worry about underground lines.

    FACT:  The lines may be closer than you think or a grading change may have occurred over time. Better to be safe than sorry. Call before you dig — it’s the law! Call Ontario One Call to get a cable locate.

    MYTH:  If a powerline falls on my car, I should get out and run to safety right away.

    FACT:  The car and the ground around it may be electrified and you could be killed if you get out of the vehicle. Stay inside until the utility workers tell you it’s safe to get out. Tell everyone to stay back 10 metres or 33 feet.

    MYTH:  To get a shock or burn, I need to actually touch a powerline.

    FACT:  Just getting too close could cause you to receive a severe shock, burn or even kill you. Electricity can jump or ‘arc’ through the air to you or an object that gets too close. Always stay at least three metres or 10 feet away from powerlines.

    MYTH:  I can use a wooden stick to prop up a powerline or to knock down a toy that’s tangled in a powerline.

    FACT:  Even wood can conduct electricity. Never touch or come close to a powerline. Contact your local utility if you need assistance.

    MYTH:  A powerline that’s been knocked down doesn’t have electricity flowing through it, so it’s safe to be near it or move it out of the way.

    FACT:  Always assume a downed powerline still has electricity flowing through it, even if it isn’t sparking. Stay back at least 10 metres or 33 feet (that’s about the length of a school bus), call 911 and the local utility.

    For more Myths & Facts & other Powerline Safety connect to the following:

    https://www.esasafe.com/consumers/safety-and-security/powerline-safety/myths-and-facts

    https://www.esasafe.com/business/powerline-safety/

    How dangerous are overhead power lines? – Lucky the Squirrel learns the hard way how dangerous overhead power lines can be, in the below link to ESA’s video.

    #RespectThePower #PowerlineSafetyWeek

     

     

     

This Saturday May 4, 11 AM- 3 PM Oshawa Power will be at the McLaughlin branch of Oshawa Public Library with a fun interactive booth that will include our Hazard Hamlet, public safety handouts including a handy vehicle safety infographic to keep in your car, financial assistance brochures and giveaways!

So come on by and meet some Oshawa Power staff and learn about powerline safety!

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced there will be little change to electricity prices on May 1, and that summer time-of-use (TOU) hours come into effect.

Customers who pay tiered prices will see no change to their electricity prices, but the tier threshold that applies in the summer period will come into effect on May 1.

For residential and small business customers that buy their electricity from their utility, the new TOU prices set by the OEB for May 1, 2019 under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP) are shown in the table below. The table also shows the hours to which those prices apply.

On March 22, 2019, the Ontario government introduced changes to the approach the OEB is required to follow when setting RPP prices for the May 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019 period. The revised regulation requires that prices are set so that the monthly bill for a proxy customer increases by the rate of inflation relative to the bill on May 1, 2018.

The proxy customer’s bill is determined by calculating a weighted average of provincewide delivery and regulatory charges, assuming consumption of 700 kWh/month and a TOU usage profile of 65% used in off-peak, 17% in mid-peak and 18% in on-peak. The new RPP prices will mean a monthly total bill increase of $1.63 for the proxy customer.

For more information please visit the OEB website.

The new RPP prices will be in effect until October 31, 2019.

Oshawa Area Telephone Soliciting

Oshawa Power has received reports in our Customer Service department that some local customers have received fraudulent phone calls claiming to be calling from Oshawa Power.  The calls are from a 1-800 number and a representative threatens disconnection unless payment is completed by credit card.

Oshawa Power can confirm that we are not executing any outbound phone calls to our customers at this time and this third party is misrepresenting themselves.

If you have any question please do not hesitate to contact us at 905-723-4623 or email us at contactus@opuc.on.ca .

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.

Please be aware that for the next six weeks, Oshawa Power is undertaking a Customer Satisfaction Survey as part of our electricity distributor scorecards. The survey will take approximately five minutes to complete and will cover topics related to billing, power outages 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 improve the customer experience to Oshawa residents.

Results from the survey will be included in Oshawa Power’s next annual scorecard.  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.

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.

Oshawa Power is also conducting an online 6-part Cost of Service Survey. Customers can participate in the development process of our upcoming Rate Application. We will be releasing 6 individual surveys each targeting different areas of the business. We will use your thoughtful answers to prioritize our Capital investment plan to ensure that we meet and exceed your expectations. To participate in the first survey click here.

Oshawa, Ontario – Oshawa Power is proud to announce the launch of E-Mission; our new, full-serve electric vehicle (EV) strategy aimed at preparing our infrastructure, community, and customers for the increasing electrification of transport. E-Mission is a three-pronged initiative that strives to:

  •  Educate by offering our customers a robust collection of resources that will help them develop a complete understanding of the EV landscape;
  • Empower through providing a streamlined experience for adopters to make the transition easy and affordable; and,
  • Evolve through strategically updating our energy infrastructure to ensure our grid is up to the challenge of the electrification and proactively meets the needs of EV adopters.

To kick-off E-Mission, Oshawa Power will be gathering and analyzing hyper-local EV usage and adoption data. We’re calling on residents of Oshawa with EVs to fill out our EV survey and redeem a bill credit of $25 (the typical cost of charging your car for a month). Residents without EVs or those who live outside Oshawa can also fill out a survey for a chance to win valuable rewards.

“As an industry-leading utility, Oshawa Power takes pride in being at the forefront of new trends in the sector” said Ivano Labricciosa, President and CEO of Oshawa Power and Utilities Corp. “Our aim is to build value for our rapidly growing and evolving customer base. That’s why E-Mission’s focus is on working with customers to understand their wants and needs when it comes to electric vehicles”.

For more details about E-Mission, visit Oshawa Power’s launch event at Autofest 2018. The launch will educate participants on electric vehicles featuring a close-up look at two modern EVs provided by the EV Society, a DC Fast Charge 50 kW EV charging station provided by e-CAMION, a classic McLaughlin-Buick, and interactive activities.  There will also be many give-aways from our partners at the Canadian Automotive Museum, Parkwood National Historic Site and Save On Energy. Autofest takes place at Lakeview Park, Oshawa on August 25th and 26th.

For more information, or to fill out our EV survey visit www.opuc.on.ca/e-mission today.

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Media Contact:
Sheila Risorto
Marketing and Communications
Oshawa Power
905-723-4626 ext 5243
srisorto@opuc.on.ca

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.