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Hydro One is committed to being a trusted partner to Indigenous communities, customers, industry stakeholders, government and all Ontarians.
This past year, we stood with our partners in working to ease financial hardships and to protect society’s most vulnerable people. We will continue to stand with communities, customers and partners to promote a more inclusive economic recovery and a more equitable future for all.
Hydro One has a critical role to play in helping Ontario emerge stronger from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Not only do we stand ready to help power Ontario’s economic recovery, we continue to generate direct economic value in the province by investing in our communities, hiring locally, paying taxes and buying goods and services from local and Indigenous suppliers.
As a partner in the province’s economic recovery, regional suppliers play a large role in supporting our work programs and projects. In 2020, we updated our supplier code of conduct to align with international best practices. This included adding more explicit language relating to the International Labour Organization’s guidelines on minimum wage, humane working conditions and child labour.
Our Indigenous Relations strategy supports Indigenous inclusion and reconciliation as outlined by the Call to Action #92 of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Hydro One will continue to strive for industry-leading and innovative engagement with Indigenous communities through open dialogue, respect for cultural traditions and knowledge, all underpinned by trust-based relationships. Learn more about our Indigenous Relations work here.
To assist Indigenous and small businesses with cash flow during the first wave of the pandemic, our team planned and executed an accelerated payment program for the first time in its history. We fast-tracked $32.9 million in payments to 124 Indigenous and small business suppliers in Ontario to help with much needed cash flow, including $18 million to 55 Indigenous businesses in 2020.
To date, seven Indigenous trainees who completed the Line Crew Ground Support program have joined the Hydro One family. The graduates have completed safety modules and hands-on training for job site tasks, including pole line construction, working at heights, hoisting and rigging as well as crane operation.
We have taken action on addressing five key concerns related to reliably, affordability, connection process and timelines, procurement and business opportunities, and barriers to engagement due to COVID-19.
Our shared success depends on our ability to build trust as a reliable partner and good neighbour for our communities and the people of Ontario. We are committed to sharing the benefits of our socio-economic development initiatives, building consensus and investing in our communities.
We formed new partnerships to address urgent needs during the pandemic: donated $300,000 worth of food to Feed Ontario's COVID-19 Emergency Food Box program, partnered with Jack.org to provide free and accessible mental health resources to young people and supported Indigenous communities through GlobalMedic and the Metis Nation of Ontario's pandemic relief fund.
We launched the Energizing Life initiative as a way to support those who provide services to Ontarians – helping to strengthen community resiliency and safety. Charitable organizations, municipalities and Indigenous communities could apply up to $25,000 toward pandemic response efforts and initiatives that improve physical and emotional safety.
Hydro One is committed to meeting our customers’ current and future energy needs and expectations, through a focus on customer experience, the expansion of digital channels and the development of new products and services. At the same time, we remain focused on addressing our customers’ needs for affordability and reliability.
We helped our business and residential customers save 183,156MWh of energy - That's approximately the amount of power that 20,350 households use in a year and saves approximately $26.2 million in bills.
We deployed approximately 1,180 smart devices designed to enable remote monitoring of the grid to reduce outage times for customers.
We are making a new, important promise to our customers called Connected for Life. This is our promise to help customers stay connected to safe and reliable power while we work together to help them access financial relief and more flexible service options.
We successfully advocated for choice in our customer pricing plans. Our residential and small business customers now – and for the first time ever – have the option to choose between time-of-use (TOU) and two tiered rates. We launched an online portal in October to help customers make this choice and to date, close to 40,000 customers have opted out of TOU rates.