Skip ribbon commands
Skip to main content

​Deliverin​g quality services for our customers

EPCOR has built its reputation on delivering high quality, safe and reliable services for customers across all the jurisdictions where we operate, and doing so at costs that are reasonable for our customers and in line with the expectations of regulators.

Customer care, satisfaction and costs

In 2021, overall reputation and customer satisfaction results continued to meet or exceed targets, as measured through community perception and customer satisfaction surveys, with little or no shifts compared to 2020. In addition, our five-year trend on water safety continued, with 2021 results remaining at zero, showing no acute health-based incidents taking place for EPCOR-controlled water activities.

As we strive to continue producing positive results in these areas, we also saw a slight decrease in our operating costs per customer, coming in at $159 for 2021 as compared to $160 in the previous year.

This was due to customer growth through 2021 that somewhat outpaced increases seen in operating costs.​​​​


Reliability an​​d prompt service

In a year marked by extreme weather conditions across our operating footprint, reliability of service was top of mind. We saw record high summer temperatures in 2021 in some areas of Canada, a severe snow storm in Texas, and some of the lowest winter temperatures experienced in Alberta. 

Despite these conditions, reliability levels remained high in 2021 and in the mid-range of results over the past five years. EPCOR electricity customers experienced 99.9% service reliability, with interruptions averaging 57 minutes in the year.

EPCOR crews responded quickly and effectively to a wide range of conditions and incidents. Drainage crews resolved nearly 96% of service calls within 24 hours – a pace similar to 2020 and in excess of the regulated target of 80%.​

​In Canmore, EPCOR worked closely with contractors and Town officials to address a high turbidity event that required a Boil Water Advisory. High water pressures during the commissioning of a new pipe dislodged sediments inside the water network, affecting water quality. A flushing and disinfection program was completed before returning the network to service, and EPCOR’s follow-up report recommended changes to pipe commissioning practices, network cleaning programs, and record-keeping.

Ensuring dependable electricity service​

Keeping the power on more than 99.99% of the time is not as easy as flipping the switch — even if it can seem that way.

As assets like transformers and power poles age, they become less reliable and present greater risks to public safety and the environment. Many EPCOR electricity assets were installed during the 1970s boom, and will likely need to be replaced at the same time.

With this in mind, our Asset Management team analyzed data related to asset failures and outage records from 2004 to 2015. The outcome was an innovative risk-based solution that allows us to rank more than 120,000 electricity assets based on their likelihood to fail, and the public, environmental and financial consequences of their failure. This approach to managing aging assets recently earned us international recognition at the Bentley Year in Infrastructure Awards.

The asset rankings have helped us decide which equipment to replace before failures occur, minimizing the number of unplanned outages and the stress that type of outage has on the system. This ongoing work supports our continued achievement of strong reliability results — with power service interruptions from defective equipment decreasing by an average of 32% since the high of 2014.

Our electricity asset teams have also developed climate models and climate adaptation management plans to mitigate risks to reliability. With some assets lasting 35 to 60 years, we are making changes to equipment specifications today so they can meet future needs.

Following the introduction of the asset management program in 2015, the length of time the average customer is without power each year reached its lowest level in nearly 15 years.​

​Edmonton reliability

Minutes per year without power

 

Investing in a growing Edmo​​​nton​​

Edmonton continues to grow at a rapid rat​e. To support these new customers, we invest about $57 million on expanding its distribution network each year. At the same time, our life-cycle replacement program helps to reduce the risk of outages to existing customers. Through this program, we implement an average of $84 million in upgrades to existing assets each year to replace aging or worn parts of the system.

We also work with the Alberta Electric System Op​erator and the Alberta Utilities Commission to help improve the transmission supply to growing Edmonton neighborhoods. Upgrades to the transmission grid reduce the risk of outages to the system by ensuring delivery of adequate energy supply.

See our latest projects​

Improving our outage re​​sponse

Over the last five years, we have made automating the electricity system a priority to have better insight into the status of our equipment. This involved the installation of advanced metering infrastructure and the automation of key distribution and transmission assets, along with their communication systems. The results have dramatically improved the way we respond to power outages.​​​

The Outage Management System uses a digital model of Edmonton's distribution grid containing all EPCOR's assets (e.g., power line, transformers) and combines it with information received from the company's Advanced Metering Infrastructure. This offers visibility into the full scope of outages on the power grid, enabling a more rapid and focused response.

Previously, we learned of power outages when customers called about their power being out. A Power Trouble Crew would then patrol the area, and once they found the cause, repairs could begin. 

 

With automation, the advanced meters send a signal to the control room to let us know customers are affected by an outage. This data is combined with the system information to narrow down the location of the cause of the outage. This significantly reduces the time between when the outage is reported and when repairs can begin.

To expand the system and continually improve response times, EPCOR has been working to increase the number of AMI meters installed at customer locations. In 2021, 7,488 AMI meters were installed, bringing the total to 425,613 in Edmonton.​

Storm operations center

During weather events, such as major lightning or wind storms, EPCOR will activate its Storm Operations Center (SOC). The SOC helps teams to effectively deploy resources to restore power to Edmontonians as quickly and safely as possible.​

 

During a fast-moving storm, the Outage Management System identifies circuits where power ​has been interrupted (grey) and pinpoints the source of the interruption (flags) allowing for a rapid and safe response.​