Customers
Come First

 
 
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Hydro One is undergoing a historic customer service transformation. Every decision and conversation at Hydro One, from front line service repairs to operational planning to Board of Directors meetings, is today more sharply focused on what’s best for the customer.

Stakeholder Engagement and Transparency

Approach

A company as large as Hydro One touches every corner of the province. Our countless stakeholders depend on us to operate responsibly and with transparency. It is therefore critical that we keep formal and informal communication channels open, listen to what individuals, groups and organizations have to say and advocate on their behalf.

The Hydro One External Relations team is chiefly responsible for engaging with stakeholders. They function as the liaison between elected officials, interest groups, local residents and the Company. However, various other lines of business also engage with stakeholders.

Hydro One’s most important stakeholders are our residential, commercial and industrial customers. In 2017, we made enormous strides to ensure our customers come first – a cultural transformation we called “Flip the Switch” – signifying a renewed culture of exceptional service across our organization.

SOME OF OUR KEY STAKEHOLDERS AND HOW WE ENGAGE WITH THEM

Customers

  • Regular call centre and third-party surveys
  • Energy-saving tips, advice, rebates and other programs posted online and via social media, as well as advertised in local media
  • High usage and outage alerts
  • Toll-free numbers and direct mail
  • Sponsorship and attendance at annual fairs and events
  • Focus groups

Investors

  • Press releases, quarterly reports, quarterly calls with financial media, annual reports
  • Annual general meetings of shareholders
  • Investor events

Regulators and Government

  • Advocacy for low-income communities
  • Advocacy for Indigenous communities
  • Regular interaction with local Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) offices
  • Public conferences

Employees

  • Internal newsletters and bulletins
  • Quarterly Health and Safety Divisional meetings
  • Employee town hall events
  • Employee engagement surveys

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

  • CSR reports
  • Industry association conferences and events
  • Personal interaction

Industry Associations

  • Regular meetings and conferences
  • Participation on committees
  • Joint representations to regulators
SOME OF OUR KEY PARTNERS AND HOW WE ENGAGE WITH THEM

Communities

  • Public events focusing on safety and information
  • Visits and presentations by Hydro One staff at town halls and council meetings
  • Community-specific outreach
  • Community investments
  • Sponsorship and participation at local events
  • Project-specific information tours
  • Representation at post-secondary schools, training and employment centres and job fairs
  • Ontario Energy Board (OEB) community meetings

Indigenous Peoples and Communities

  • Dedicated Indigenous Relations Department
  • Visits by staff and senior leaders to Indigenous communities
  • Representation at Indigenous post-secondary schools, training and employment centres and job fairs
  • Indigenous procurement workshops and networking sessions with contractors
  • Recruitment of community members to act as liaisons between local communities and Hydro One
85%
of customer issues resolved during first call

Performance

Our Customer Comes First approach to business is helping to fuel our growth and fulfill our obligations to the OEB, our shareholders and communities.

Distribution customer satisfaction increased to 71% in 2017, an increase of 5% since 2016, largely due to better customer rates and strong operational performance in all functional areas, including billing, contact centre, collection and conservation. Transmission customer satisfaction increased to 88% in 2017, an increase of 10% since 2016, partially attributed to the improved customer rates, as well as to enhanced customer reporting and a renewed commitment to customer advocacy.

Flipping the Switch on how we do business continued to make a difference in the lives of our customers in 2017. Customers tell us they are experiencing significant reductions in their monthly bills, better service and a wider range of offerings.

  Extended Contact Centre hours: Responding to requests for more convenient hours that fit customer schedules, we opened our Contact Centres on Saturdays (9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) and extended our weekday hours (7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) – making Hydro One the first electricity service provider in Ontario to do so. For power outages and other emergencies we provide 24 hour assistance.

  Increased community service & presence: Hydro One continued to increase our presence in local communities through drop-in sessions, our mobile Electricity Discovery Centre and by opening regional customer service desks at our Sudbury Field Business Centre and piloting customer service offices at our London and Markham Contact Centres.

  More direct customer engagement: Our traveling customer service team visited over 20 cities, towns and Indigenous communities throughout the year, meeting customers face-to-face to help answer questions about their bills, provide information about smart meters and help them learn more about conserving energy and reducing their usage.

  Better online access: We redesigned our HydroOne.com website and myAccount self-service portal to make them more intuitive, providing a rich array of information and tools, such as Predict My Bill.

  More financial relief: We eliminated security deposits for residential customers and significantly reduced deposit requirements for our business customers. We also expanded relief measures to help customers who accumulated balances on their accounts over the winter, including the suspension of winter disconnections. We also provided a range of support to Indigenous customers through the First Nations Delivery Credit, First Nations Conservation program and Hydro One’s Get Local program. We advocated on behalf of our customers to the Provincial government for the Fair Hydro Plan, which resulted in a decrease of 31% for typical customer bills and rate fairness for Hydro One rural and northern customers.

While customer satisfaction levels decreased slightly during Hydro One's transition to a public company, performance improvements have driven higher levels of satisfaction between 2016 and 2017.

Key Programs & Future Initiatives

We announced two far-reaching customer initiatives in 2017 that underscore our commitment to Hydro One’s culture of service. Following extensive research and substantial direct feedback from thousands of customers, we completely redesigned the format of Hydro One’s electricity bills. The new, easy to understand electricity statements began rolling out to over 1.3 million of our valued customers in December 2017. The new version of the bill also translates well digitally as an e-bill on both web and mobile applications. Hydro One advocated for the ability to change our electricity bill after learning that more than 40% of customers found it confusing and difficult to understand and determining that 38% of calls to our Customer Contact Centre were related to bill misunderstandings. The new bill changes have already improved customer understanding and have resulted in fewer calls to the Contact Centre. They are also expected to reduce costs. No costs will be returned to customers.

Late in the year, we announced that Hydro One Contact Centre representatives would be transitioning back from a third-party provider, allowing our Hydro One employees to better serve customers, by providing a more seamless experience. This transition will also deliver improved service quality, flexibility and cost efficiency. By coming back into the organization, the representatives will play a large part in advancing Hydro One’s renewed service culture, assuring customers they are now connecting directly with Hydro One service leaders and decision makers who will be better equipped to serve them.

NEARLY 48,000 PEOPLE ENGAGED WITH HYDRO ONE DAY ONLINE VIDEOS AND SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS.

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, 28 senior leaders from Hydro One joined the Company’s Customer Call Centre team from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and encouraged customers to call in and provide direct feedback. It’s all part of our effort to engage in meaningful dialogue with customers and transform into a customer-focused company.

The event underscored that Hydro One is changing the way we do business and we are committed to listening and speaking directly to our customers.

Senior leaders listened and engaged with more than 800 customers with conversations centred on affordability and billing. Nearly 48,000 people also engaged with Hydro One Day online videos and social media posts.

While listening is an important first step, Hydro One is following that up with action. We are working to keep our costs down and keep any increases on our portion of the bill, the delivery line, to what is required to ensure that electricity is delivered to our customers when and where they need it. These efforts were one of the reasons the majority of Hydro One customers had a rate decrease in 2017.

Electricity Demand, Efficiency and Conservation

Our consumer-facing deal days events remain our most popular incentive program, providing instant discounts for the purchase of energy saving lighting and other equipment.
 

Approach

Hydro One helps customers reduce their monthly bills through electricity conservation programs. Being their trusted energy advisor and promoting a culture of conservation will not only improve their monthly finances, it will help our province shrink its carbon footprint and lessen Ontario’s need to build new generating capacity. Hydro One delivers energy conservation programs on behalf of the IESO, to provide energy efficiency upgrades, retrofits, retail incentives and financial and advisory support to help our residential, commercial and industrial customers manage their costs and reduce their energy needs.

Performance

Customers continued to respond enthusiastically to our energy conservation and efficiency offerings and services. Their sustained interest and support have helped Hydro One exceed our mandated mid-term target by 51%.

This target is part of the province’s 2015-2020 Conservation First Framework, which provides a roadmap to reducing total electricity consumption in the province by 8.7 terawatt hours (TWh) by December 31, 2020. Hydro One is required to contribute 1,221 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy savings to that target. At mid-term of the mandate period and with the sustained support of our customers, we are well on our way to achieving that goal.

Since 2015, we have achieved total savings of 922 GWh (unverified) against our mid-term target of 611 GWh.

In 2017, the 20 energy conservation and demand management programs we offer to our customers, achieved 404 GWh (unverified) in energy savings for Ontario.

 

Residential Programs

Our residential programs – which include our Deal Days Program, Heating and Cooling Incentives, New Home Construction Program and Home Assistance Program – continued to contribute extensive and sustained energy savings, delivering 55% of our total savings in 2017. Our consumer-facing Deal Days Events, which we run in conjunction with national retail chains, remain our most popular incentive program, providing instant discounts (formerly redemption coupons) for the purchase of energy-saving lighting and other equipment. Another in-demand consumer program provides rebates on energy-efficient heating and air conditioning units, which continues to see significant consumer response. In total for 2017, our residential customers redeemed almost 10 million coupons and installed over 23,000 furnace and air conditioning units.

Commercial Programs

Our commercial programs – which include energy audits, equipment retrofits, direct install lighting and high performance new construction – delivered 38% of our total energy savings in 2017. Hydro One representatives worked with small and mid-sized businesses to assess and install more energy efficient equipment such as motors, fans and cooling units. In 2017 Hydro One customers undertook 1,937 Equipment Replacement/Retrofit projects and generated $15.3 million in bill savings. Our direct install lighting for small businesses and retail establishments, which provides up to $2,000 in lighting upgrades, remained very popular in 2017, garnering positive public response and attracting 2,988 customers.

Industrial Programs

Our industrial programs – which offer process and system upgrades and energy management support – delivered 7% of total energy savings in 2017. These programs are targeted to large industrial customers with major capital projects that require extensive lead times and business cases to gain customer, board and executive-level approvals. We anticipate the bulk of these projects coming on-line leading up to 2020, as we work with these large customers to advance their business cases to internal stakeholders.

The energy conservation team will continue to manage and monitor the overall program portfolio, ensuring our Residential, Commercial and Industrial programs continue to drive energy savings for our customers.

Energy Innovators

Watch how Richard’s Coffeehouse in Brockville, Ontario, became energy innovators by participating in Hydro One’s Small Business Lighting program – our 45,000th installation.

“It’s more than just about lightbulbs. This is one step in a process. The big impact will hopefully be in the conversations circulating around conservation of energy. If we can collaboratively move things along in achieving energy security and creating a more resilient community then I think we’re on the right path.”


–Jean-Pierre Chabot,
MoCreebec Economic Development Officer
Our consumer-facing deal days events remain our most popular incentive program, providing instant discounts for the purchase of energy saving lighting and other equipment.

Weathering the Elements in Moonsonee

Moosonee is located in Ontario’s beautiful northern wilderness, touching the edge of the Arctic and far removed from the standard comforts experienced in most of the province. There are approximately 400 homes in Moosonee and its neighbouring island community of Moose Factory, with 90% of homes electrically heated.

There are many challenges to living in such a remote community, including limited connection to Ontario’s road system. In such cases, travelers must arrive by train or plane, with the closest town, Timmins, located 315 km to the south.

Despite such challenges, the community was anxious to learn more about Hydro One’s Home Assistance Program (HAP). Our team swung into action, travelling north to deliver a community information session and promote the benefits of HAP on community radio, one-on-one information sessions, town posters and social media. The response was overwhelmingly positive. We delivered HAP to 288 homes in 2017; we conducted home audits in October and delivered appliances to 51 homes in mid-December and mid-January. Weatherization installation in 259 homes is set to begin in spring 2018. The successful response to this program – which complements our First Nations Conservation and Get Local Programs – will drive our efforts to expand this initiative further across the province.

“It’s more than just about lightbulbs. This is one step in a process. The big impact will hopefully be in the conversations circulating around conservation of energy. If we can collaboratively move things along in achieving energy security and creating a more resilient community then I think we’re on the right path.”


–Jean-Pierre Chabot,
MoCreebec Economic Development Officer
51%
Ahead of our mid-term 
provincial energy 
conservation target

Key Programs & Future Initiatives

We announced two far-reaching customer initiatives in 2017 that underscore our commitment to Hydro One’s culture of service. Following extensive research and substantial direct feedback from thousands of customers, we completely redesigned the format of Hydro One’s electricity bills. The new, easy to understand electricity statements began rolling out to over 1.3 million of our valued customers in December 2017. The new version of the bill also translates well digitally as an e-bill on both web and mobile applications. Hydro One advocated for the ability to change our electricity bill after learning that more than 40% of customers found it confusing and difficult to understand and determining that 38% of calls to our Customer Contact Centre were related to bill misunderstandings. The new bill changes have already improved customer understanding and have resulted in fewer calls to the Contact Centre. They are also expected to reduce costs. No costs will be returned to customers.

Late in the year, we announced that Hydro One Contact Centre representatives would be transitioning back from a third-party provider, allowing our Hydro One employees to better serve customers, by providing a more seamless experience. This transition will also deliver improved service quality, flexibility and cost efficiency. By coming back into the organization, the representatives will play a large part in advancing Hydro One’s renewed service culture, assuring customers they are now connecting directly with Hydro One service leaders and decision makers who will be better equipped to serve them.

 
About this Report

Hydro One’s 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report updates the progress we made during the past year to advance our health, safety, environmental and social performance. Our report is organized around Hydro One’s five strategic CSR pillars: customers come first, using resources responsibly, people and potential, powering economies, and building a grid 
for the future. It also describes our performance under the Canadian Electricity Association’s (CEA’s) Sustainable Electricity™ Program, which promotes the integration of CSR in business decision-making and pursues leading practices in continuous improvement.

As our CSR strategy and reporting program continue to evolve in support of Hydro One’s business strategy, we will review further opportunities to align our reporting with the internationally recognized Sustainability Reporting Standards, developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The information in this report reflects our performance from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 and covers our Canadian operations. This CSR report is limited to Hydro One Limited (referred to as “Hydro One” throughout this report). All dollar amounts are in Canadian dollars. The scope of the report excludes Hydro One Remote Communities Inc. and Hydro One Telecom Inc.