2015 CAE Recipient Profile - Horizon Utilities Corporation


Horizon Utilities Corporation is one of the largest municipally owned electricity distribution companies in Ontario which provides electricity and related utility services to 242,000 residential and commercial customers in the cities of Hamilton and St. Catharines.

Horizon Utilities Corporation is owned by Horizon Holdings Inc., which is jointly owned by Hamilton Utilities Corporation and St. Catharines Hydro. Inc. and the latter two are respectively owned by the City of Hamilton and the City of St. Catharines. Our rates and performance are regulated by the Ontario Energy Board.

Horizon Utilities delivers amongst the lowest operating costs and the lowest residential and commercial rates in Ontario. At the same time, we are generating some of the strongest returns for our municipal shareholders.
Our 425 employees are committed to providing unparalleled customer value, and helping to create a culture of energy conservation in the communities we serve, and across Ontario. Our collective goal is to support growth and provide safe, reliable sustainable power for our residential and business customers in the communities we serve.

Horizon Utilities believes that our employees are the most valuable asset and that our customers are the reason we exist. Our mission is for our employees to create value for shareholders, customers and the communities we serve through the safe and reliable delivery of electricity and innovative energy solutions. Our vision is to be the leader in providing innovative energy solutions to the communities we serve.
Horizon Utilities believes in providing an environment that is accessible for all. We are committed to improving accessibility for all persons who use our services and welcome their comments, questions and suggestions about the provision of our services to people with disabilities.

Horizon employees from both St. Catharines and Hamilton support many community endeavors through the Horizon Employees' charity Fund. In 2014, employees teamed up with the company to raise and donate more than $75,000 to 61 charities in our home communities.

Horizon Utilities partnered with the City of St. Catharines, the Peninsula Conservation Authority and Ontario Power Generation to replace trees and plants in part one of the 12 Mile Creek Hydro Corridor Sustainable Vegetation Project. We are committed to being a good community partner and leading the way in implementing environmental practices that support sustainable communities.

Social Responsibility is important to Horizon Utilities and it has adopted the ISO 26000, International Organization for Standardization's Guideline on social responsibility. This standard offers an overview on social responsible corporate behavior and possible actions. To further demonstrate our commitment Horizon engages a third party to review our practices and processes to ensure we are following the roadmap outlined throughout the international standard.

We are working hard to a cleaner, more progressive and focused electricity distribution company that plays a vital role in building a culture of conservation in Ontario. Between 2011 and 2014 our conservation initiatives have resulted in energy savings of more than 272 million kilowatt hours – enough energy to power 28,000 homes for one year. This has diverted more than 67,000 metric tons of emissions from the air, the equivalent of taking 19,262 cars off the road. We have installed energy efficient lighting with timers in our buildings and we monitor our heating and cooling systems.

A total of 11 per cent of our fleet is now made up of electric and hybrid vehicles, to bring superior fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. To continue our commitment to the environment Horizon Utilities is committed to achieving waste reduction through collecting used batteries and aerosol cans for recycling as well as discontinuing the use over 16,000 bottles of water a year in support of reducing our carbon footprint.

OUR JOURNEY

Horizon Utilities Corporation has a robust wellness program that touches all levels of the organization in one form or another. Through Wellness Events to the Lunch and Learns, employees can benefit from the many tips to maintaining or creating a healthy life style. It was this mindset that provided the framework for the current programs and the determination to validate the programs against the Excellence Canada Silver Standard. Horizon Utilities Corporation uses the "Continuous Improvement" philosophy in many areas such as Safety, Operations and Wellness.

We conducted our Self-Assessment on April 8, 2015 with a focus group from all sectors of our company. This showed us we were well underway, but more importantly how we could do better. We organized a reinvigorated Wellness Committee and looked at how we can make the whole wellness programs better for all levels.

With 50% of our staff working outside in all weather and away from their computers lead to some difficult challenges. The "field" workers had limited to no computer service, nor did they have the flexibility in their day to stop work and attend a "Lunch and Learn" This became a central focus for the Healthy workplace & Safety Department starting in 2014.

We delivered 2 exciting programs that focused on the schedule of the outside workers. These programs where scheduled and delivered so the outside workers could participate at the beginning of their shifts. Sun Awareness and Diabetes Awareness showcased new technology to show the dangers of unprotected skin in the sun using an RF Camera system. The second focused on identifying those at risk of "Diabetes" using a skin analyzer. Both these systems were noninvasive and lead by certified Nurses with a local medical centre.

Participation rates soared in excess of 60% of our outside staff, which exceeded our expectations. More importantly we saw changes in behaviour in the sun, and more questions
about what they can do to get more information about a healthy lifestyle.

Our "journey" is well underway, we are all focused on making this journey beneficial to our employees and their families.