USF was formed by many of Ontario’s small to medium sized electricity distribution companies (LDC’s) in 2005, in direct response to the passing of Ontario Regulation 22/04. Engineering teams volunteered their time and seed documents, to prepare a shared set of design standards to meet the requirements of this legislation, and promote distribution system safety.
Today, USF has grown both in membership and focus. It now includes small to medium and large Ontario LDC’s, and is the place where teams from Engineering, IT, Customer Service, and Regulatory departments, as well as management, and women in the industry, collaborate on meeting changing regulatory requirements and general business needs.
In each Forum, USF hosts a schedule of events, providing networking opportunities and support to one another on common activities. Three to four times per year, USF colleagues connect and collaborate, receive updates from industry stakeholders, discuss practices and experiences, and direct USF on future projects and developments. Outside experts are often welcomed to these meetings, to provide new information, opinions and training. However at times, the doors are closed and members have confidential round table discussions.
On an ad-hoc basis, and through the web, many discussions among Members occur in each Forum. “Questions for Members” flow regularly between Member representatives, asking one another about their interpretations, experiences, operational practices and procedures, etc.
USF operates with a significant amount of voluntary participation and input by Member representatives. It thrives only with input and active engagement from the membership, directly on a committee or group, or as an attendee at Forum Meetings.
Each Forum has an Advisory Committee that meets with the Executive Director regularly to review and recommend the direction. Working Groups are assigned the achievement of a particular project, working with the Executive Director and outside experts. These volunteers find the time and expertise they offer USF more than returned in the form of knowledge sharing and networking, as well as the common benefit of achieving improved USF products and services.