Smart grid happening in Ontario


Paul Murphy, Chair,
Ontario Smart
Grid Forum
Toronto, ON, Canada — (METERING.COM) — May 4, 2011 – The smart grid is happening in Ontario and while much has been accomplished over the past three years, much work remains, according to a new report from the Ontario Smart Grid Forum.

The report, “Modernizing Ontario’s Electricity System: Next Steps,” says that the government has passed legislation that mandates smart grid development and modernization efforts are clearly well underway. However, more effective and coordinated efforts are needed to accelerate progress and in particular, clarity is needed around the roles and responsibilities of private sector companies as they introduce new products and services made possible by the smart grid.

The report, the Forum’s second, is aimed to review the progress since its first report in February 2009 and it sets out a roadmap and the next steps that are needed towards grid modernization.

“Our province has a real head-start in getting the building blocks in place for a smart grid,” said Paul Murphy, Forum chair and president and CEO of the IESO. “The task moving forward is to ensure that our next steps are coordinated, consistent and prudent – ensuring that all the pieces within the smart grid work together effectively and generate the maximum possible benefits for consumers and the province as a whole.”

Key recommendations include:

  • An annual survey by the Ontario Ministry of Energy to assess consumer interest in smart home technologies and how they are influencing consumer behavior
  • Establishment of an economic development task force to capitalize on the innovation, commercialization and job creation potential of Ontario’s smart grid investments
  • Tracking of electric vehicle registration and provision to utilities to help them ensure that local networks can support the increased demand for electricity
  • Development of a framework to promote the deployment of energy storage within distribution networks
  • Tracking of all smart grid related complaints regarding the use of personal electricity consumption information
  • Development of a test-bed environment for companies to assess whether their products and services are compatible with Ontario’s distribution networks
  • Greater standardization by the industry to ensure that all technologies can work together effectively.

The Forum also recommends that there should be benchmarking and tracking of smart grid success and suggests various metrics to track near and longer term progress, under four broad metric categories. These are:

  • The degree to which residential and small business customers are using smart meter information to make decisions on their electricity use
  • The degree to which customers, including commercial and industrial customers, are taking advantage of the smart grid through associated technology and service offerings
  • Overall performance of the smart grid and its support for new products and services, including electric vehicles
  • Level of contribution of the broader electricity sector to the Ontario economy.

The Ontario Smart Grid Forum comprises members of Ontario’s utility sector, industry associations, public agencies, and universities.