What's the context?
We've provided data on achievements in 2018. If you're looking for additional context on how much overall infrastructure is maintained by Utilities Kingston, check out their overview infographics.
The asset management focus shifted in 2018, from overhead pole line work, to underground work, including cables and transformer vaults. This trend will continue over the next several years, and is influenced by factors such as the age and condition of the assets.
Our activities to operate, maintain and upgrade electricity distribution equipment help ensure power reliability for our customers.
Preventative maintenance helps identify and address problems before they occur.
We service a total of 5,229 electric poles. Of these, we visually inspected 1,366 poles and related equipment, east of Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard and south of Princess Street. Inspection results are assessed and used to help prioritize capital works.
Infrared scanning to proactively detect faulting electrical equipment was again performed on the entire 44 kV overhead sub-transmission network, one-third of the 5 kV overhead distribution network, 31 transformer vaults and at all 17 substations.
This preventative program has proven to be an efficient method to address problems before equipment fails and leads to unplanned outages.
A total of 101 defects were identified in 2018, consistent with the previous year. The findings assist with prioritizing operation and maintenance works.
Is Tree Trimming Coming to Your Neighbourhood?
To reduce outages that can occur from weather events, ensure worker and public health and safety, and to meet regulatory requirements, we trim the trees in the entire distribution area over a three-year period.
To help reduce disruption to our customers, we now offer a map on our website, explaining when to expect tree trimming in a given month.
Trees are important to the beauty, comfort, health and safety of our community. For example, they play a role in providing quality tap water by slowing storm water and reducing run-off pollution that otherwise ends up in Lake Ontario, Kingston’s source of drinking water.
Utilities Kingston aims to reduce the environmental impact of delivering utility services. When the right tree is planted in the right place, it helps to ensure the safety and reliability of gas, water, wastewater and electricity infrastructure, while protecting the trees themselves. For every municipally-owned tree removed under this program, we fund its replacement with three trees.
Kingston Hydro's 17 substations serve a critical function in the distribution system. In 2018, staff prioritized a significant amount of substation work, including equipment testing and maintenance, equipment rebuilds and repairs, and infrared scanning to detect developing trouble spots.
Municipal Substation No. 1 (MS1) is Kingston’s oldest substation, located inside a heritage building on lower Queen Street, and helps to ensure safe and reliable service to the downtown core. This past year, work progressed as part of a multi-year project that was initiated in 2015 and is expected to be completed by 2023.
Highlights of the work completed in 2018:
- Upgraded the internal station copper grounding bus and seven feeder protection relays of the 5kV West Bus.
- Advanced the detailed design of the main 44kV and 5kV bus protection relay upgrades. To ensure worker safety, protection relays will need to upgraded in 2019, before legacy water-cooled power transformers can be replaced.
Reliable metering equipment plays a critical part in ensuring our customers continue to receive accurate bills. In accordance with the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act and Measurement Canada guidelines, every year we test a number of electricity meters in order to verify accuracy and that the meters conform to legal requirements.
Meters are selected randomly. The process involves removing the meter and installing a new one, and then sending the meter to an Industry Canada accredited testing facility.
In 2018 as part of this activity, Utilities Kingston replaced 604 electricity meters. Additionally, we installed 185 meters to serve new customers.
Regulation and Legislation
Kingston Hydro's Scorecard
In 2018, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) issued a performance scorecard for Kingston Hydro, for the year 2017. The scorecard measures how well Ontario’s electricity distributors are performing each year. Ontario’s electricity distributors report their scorecard performance results annually, and make the results available to the public on their websites. In 2017, Kingston Hydro continued to perform strongly against several of the performance targets for the measures set out by the OEB.
We are particularly proud of achievements towards provincially-mandated targets in Conservation and Demand Management. We thank our customers for their commitment and investment in saving water, energy and money. Ranked in the top half of Ontario’s 68 local distribution companies, Kingston Hydro was on track to exceed its 2020 targets.
Our pride in delivering safe and reliable services is reflected in our customer satisfaction results. Of the 400 customers surveyed in 2017, 92 per cent say they are satisfied with the electrical services they receive from the utility. Utilities Kingston received an ‘A’ on the report card used to grade utility companies across the province, consistent with the first time this survey was conducted in 2014.
In the 2017 scorecard, Kingston Hydro did not meet performance targets for Billing Accuracy, Number of General Public Incidents, and Average Number of Hours that Power to a Customer is Interrupted, of which further details are provided in the below scorecard link. Utilities Kingston is committed to continually improving service to customers. On behalf of Kingston Hydro, we continue to monitor performance, with a focus on safe, reliable and efficient services.
View the Kingston Hydro scorecard for the year 2017.
Providing reliable electricity services to customers is important. When the power goes out unexpectedly, we work to restore power as safely and efficiently as possible.
Causes of Unplanned/Emergency Power Outages
To ensure the safety of crews working on the electricity distribution system, portions may be de-energized for work protection. As a result, some customers are affected by scheduled outages. In 2018, we scheduled 67 of these events, accounting for 7,901 total customer hours of interruption (TCHI).
Unplanned or emergency outages in 2018 totaled 74, with 41,281 TCHI. This 75 per cent increase in TCHI over 2017, is largely attributed to a loss of supply event (7,200 TCHI) in May and a January incident involving aged electrical equipment failing at a substation (9,500 TCHI).
- As in previous years, failing end-of-life equipment was the leading cause of unplanned outages, with 31 outages and almost 15,000 customer hours of interruption. More than half were due to underground electrical cable failures. This highlights the continued importance of investing in infrastructure renewal.
- Adverse weather and lightning was the second leading cause of unplanned outages, with 18.
- Trees making contact with wires caused 12 outages, but had a higher associated TCHI than adverse weather. Restoring outages due to tree contact typically involves clearing around the lines or tree removal, and the work often takes place in backyard areas with limited access.
- Foreign interference accounted for 9 outages and 3,484 TCHI, whereas loss of supply –the loss of electricity transmitted from Hydro One’s system – accounted for almost 20 per of the total customer hours of interruption from emergency outages.
Utilities Kingston recognized as “Centre of Excellence”
In 2018, Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) recognized Utilities Kingston as a Centre of Excellence for a novel approach to transfer trip communications. Get the details on this innovative approach – and how it optimizes the electricity system here.
Conservation is the cleanest and least costly way to increase electricity system capacity, while empowering customers to manage their electricity use and save money. It can extend the useful life of existing infrastructure and reduce the environmental impact of electricity distribution.
In 2018, we helped more than 100 local customer projects access programs to save a combined 10 million kWh of electricity per year, over 600 projects since 2015. Learn more about Utilities Kingston's conservation achievements for 2018.