2014 CAE Recipient Profile - PowerStream Inc.

PowerStream Inc. is a community-owned energy company that provides power and related services to more than 350,000 customers and a population of over 1,000,000 within a service area of 806 square kilometres through its utilization of more than $1 billion in assets. Recognized for being one of ‘Canada’s Greenest Employers”, PowerStream is the second largest municipally-owned electricity distribution company in Ontario, serving customers located in communities immediately north of Toronto and in Central Ontario. It is jointly owned by the municipalities of Barrie, Markham and Vaughan.

PowerStream also operates a renewable energy generation business (involving the leasing of commercial building rooftops for installing and operating solar photovoltaic systems) and offers energy management as well as conservation and demand management program to customers across its service territory.

In 2012, PowerStream formed a strategic partnership with the Town of Collingwood in a 50% ownership of Collus PowerStream, a utility which serves customers in the Ontario communities of Collingwood, Stayner. Creemore and Thornbury. In November 2013, PowerStream Energy Services Inc., an affiliate to PowerStream Inc., was created to provide customers with integrated energy services and solutions.

The company employs approximately 550 staff who operate out of four work locations including a head office and satellite office in Vaughan as well as operation centres in Markham and Barrie.

The organization's stated corporate vision is to "be a socially responsible company, committed to the environment and sustainable growth, leading the way into the future with boldness, innovation and best in class performance."

Since creation we have been a product of innovation and proactive thinking. When formed PowerStream developed a strong Health & Safety culture, with values based on teamwork and respect, guided by committed leaders.  PowerStream is a visionary organization, constantly seeking opportunities, embracing change and leading the way with continuous improvement.

Our Journey

PowerStream’s Journey to Excellence (J2E) began in 2010. By September 2012, the company  was successful in its quest to achieve Silver (level 2) certification in the Excellence, Innovation and Wellness (EIW) standard. Post certification, the PowerStream J2E team began planning for Gold achievement (level 3). Advocating the Journey to Excellence initiative are the J2E Excellence Council and J2E Ambassadors. Excellence Council members are committed to help champion the journey through input and guidance of the implementation plan. J2E Ambassadors act as the main points of contact for their department, help implement initiatives and deliver monthly updates to their staff.

During the beginning of 2013 all departments met for the annual Interdependencies meeting relating to the company’s corporate initiatives for the year. Following this meeting, the J2E team was able to take each of the department’s action plans and align them to the draft Gold action plans previously created. Before finalizing the J2E action plans, a self-assessment against the drivers and gold standard was done.

The Excellence Council and Ambassadors participated in a J2E Gold (level 3) Training Session. Here they reviewed the standard, received training on the objective of a self-assessment and how the process worked. Leads were assigned to each driver, along with their driver action teams. Leads were given the responsibility of leading their team through the self-assessment. The two groups then met and presented their driver self-assessment results, where they received feedback and consensus on the key action items to move forward with. Results from the self-assessment were used to modify the draft gold action plans, as a means to close any gaps. The 2013 and 2014 J2E Gold Action Plans were reviewed by the Senior Leadership Team and the Executive Operating Committee prior to organization wide release. A database was created to monitor and report on the progress, on a monthly basis. 

In June 2014, PowerStream participated in a Mock Verification. Focus groups consisted of cross-functional staff from all four work locations, including an Executive Management Team, Senior Leadership Team, Manager/Supervisor and Employee focus groups.

Excellence, Innovation and Wellness (EIW)

Excellence is defined as, “getting a little better every day”, and PowerStream does this with a strong focus on continuous improvement and excellent customer service. Services to customers are constantly improving with the many self-serve web enhancements that have been implemented to provide more self-serve capabilities to the customer, as well a positive increase in social media presence.

Innovation is known as, “fresh thinking that creates value”. 2013 was the year of the Inaugural CEO Innovation Awards and in 2014 an Innovation Committee was formed at the request of the Excellence Council and Ambassadors.

Wellness is about reminding the organization that, “Your Health Matters”. PowerStream’s Wellness Committee provides employees with the knowledge and resources to make sustainable, behavioural changes to their lifestyles. Employees participated in PowerStream’s Walk to Wellness Challenge and An Apple a Day initiatives.

PowerStream’s Journey to Excellence helps foster continuous improvement in the areas of Excellence, Innovation and Wellness. It is who we were, who we are today and who we will be. 

PowerStream’s Journey to Excellence would not be possible without excellent employee engagement and commitment. PowerStream and its employees are going “From Good, to Great, to Excellent…Together!”