BC Hydro

2500+ Employees
Unified Communications

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Providing Energy to 1.8 Million British Columbians, Crown Corporation Turns to Avaya to Update Aging Telephone Infrastructure

BC Hydro


When someone in British Columbia starts their day with a coffee and the morning news, they’re not just turning on the coffee maker and the television; they’re turning to BC Hydro to provide the energy that powers their daily lives. Operating 57,648 kilometres of distribution lines and 900,000 utility poles, BC Hydro serves 1.8 million customers who only realize how essential the service is when a power interruption occurs.

A vital part of running BC Hydro’s operations safely and efficiently for customers is a reliable telephone system to facilitate communications throughout the entire organization – from Prince Rupert down to Penticton.

So when the technology support service offered on BC Hydro’s existing Nortel phone system was coming to an end, the team knew they had an important choice to make: replace their old system entirely and install a new one from the ground up, or upgrade and migrate to a more current platform.

“There is no doubt, we were facing challenges,” says Adam French, Telecommunications Delivery Manager of BC Hydro.

“We knew that our system was quickly reaching the end of its lifecycle, and we had to implement a solution that would be cost effective yet improve our ability to provide B.C. residents with exceptional service.”

Adam French, Telecommunications Delivery Manager, BC Hydro


With cost-effectiveness a top priority, BC Hydro chose to upgrade their existing system over time using Avaya’s world-class telephony solution, Avaya Aura Communication Manager.

Avaya Aura Communications Manager is an open, extensible IP telephony platform that can be deployed as an IP PBX, a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-only environment, or a hybrid platform that supports both SIP and non-SIP environments.

Switching more than 10,000 phone lines at 200 sites is no small task. At the heart of the solution is Avaya Aura® Session Manager that creates a geographically redundant call server in BC Hydro’s primary data centre.

BC Hydro

The SIP system gives BC Hydro employees the flexibility to have their phone number and office extension follow them wherever they go. Employees can be reached in the office on their desk phones, or on the go through VoIP soft phones available on their laptops and mobile devices.

“Avaya’s system has really transformed how our IT department – and BC Hydro – conducts business,” says French. “Avaya has allowed us to better manage our time and refocus on other core competencies.”



As BC Hydro is a large company with a substantial workforce, employee movement is a reality for the organization. Consequently, the IT department must ensure that 6,000 full-time staff and contractors with company phones have reliable working access to the telephone system.

“On the old platform, we had to program all changes and send a technician to a person’s desk to physically move the phone if the person was switching locations,” says French.

“Now our employees can move desks easily without us; all they need to do is login to the phone at their new desk, and they’re still accessible at the extension they were originally assigned.”

Adam French, Telecommunications Delivery Manager, BC Hydro

The Avaya solution makes it very easy for IT to relocate people in BC Hydro’s new telephone system as needed.


In just a short time, BC Hydro’s new telephone system is providing its employees with a whole new level of flexibility and mobility. As a result of implementing Avaya Aura Communications Manager, workers are more efficient and happier now that they can take their calls anywhere, anytime.

“We’ve received lots of positive feedback from employees about the features of our new system, and what it allows them to do,” says French. “The ability to sync up your desk phone to your cell phone and your laptop, and take calls however you wish, has offered many of our employees more freedom – especially those in the field. They’re not tied to just one particular device anymore.”


BC Hydro’s new phone system is also allowing resources to be put to better use. Because of the system’s efficiency, BC Hydro has streamlined its IT processes and operations.

“It used to take five employees to manage the phone system we had in place before; now it’s a two person job,” says French.

"Members of our IT department have been able to focus on other areas. It’s a much better system than what we had, and it has made our jobs a great deal easier.”

Adam French, Telecommunications Delivery Manager, BC Hydro

BC Hydro
  • Headquarters:

  • Canada

  • # Employees:

  • 6000

Fifty years ago, British Columbians turned to BC Hydro to build the clean electricity system they count on to power B.C.’s economy, create jobs in every region, and keep the lights on. Now, BC Hydro is building again for the next 50 years. B.C. continues to grow and so has the need for more electricity. That’s why BC Hydro is building, renewing, and encouraging conservation to meet today’s needs and those of future generations. In 2011, BC Hydro is celebrating 50 years of providing power for British Columbians, and inviting them to help prepare for the next 50 years.

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“Avaya has allowed us to better manage our time and refocus on other core competencies.”

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  • Adam French

  • BC Hydro

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