Electricity simulation will help Ontario to shave peak demand


Paul Shervill,
Vice President –
Conservation & Sector
Development, OPA
Toronto, ON, Canada — (METERING.COM) — May 30, 2008 – The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and its electricity industry partners are testing the communications system that will help thousands of Ontario households and businesses reduce their energy use when the province’s electricity system needs it most – on the hottest, steamiest days of summer, when both electricity use and prices are the highest.

By the time Ontario sees its peak demand days this summer, the OPA hopes that more than 150,000 Ontario homes and businesses (up from 70,000 now) will be signed up to help the province avoid using higher cost electricity, typical of these moments. In 2008, a successful recruitment could see as much as 350 MW of focused demand reduction removed from the system, at the best possible time. That’s enough to power some 350,000 homes.

According to Paul Shervill, OPA’s Vice President, Conservation and Sector Development, the demand response simulation is part of the OPA’s involvement in the province’s first Energy Conservation Week-May 25-31. "It is a perfect time, in advance of hot summer days, to test our communications protocol and to raise awareness of Ontario’s special summertime peak-demand conservation messages."

Today’s simulation involves communications for two province-wide OPA load management programs – peaksaver®, for controlled residential load reduction and Demand Response 3, for larger industrial and institutional loads. Both programs are facilitated by ‘aggregators’ contracted by the OPA to provide technical, management and operational support.

Residential and business customers will not be affected by the simulation – there is not intended to be an actual reduction in electricity use. The test is purposely scheduled at a time of year when electricity use is not at its peak, since the focus is on how the communications system operates and not on how much electricity use is reduced.

The communications test provides an opportunity, on a voluntary basis, for industry participants to ensure that both standby and activation notices – required to initiate the demand response process – are issued, received and acted upon. The simulation will be assessed for thoroughness, timeliness and accuracy. Partners in the simulation include the OPA, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), and many aggregators and local distribution companies.