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Challenges for Ontario’s electrical utilities

July 2015 – Over the past year, a series of roundtables were convened by the Centre for Urban Energy (CUE) at Ryerson University  under the umbrella “Rising to Ontario’s LDC Challenges”. These discussions were chaired by Paul Murphy – past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

The independent experts gathered to have frank discussions about the electricity distribution sector in Ontario, which is facing a significant period of rebuilding and transformation.

full coverThese discussions resulted in 5 published background papers:

  • the impact of new technology
  • the challenge of climate change
  • maintaining system reliability
  • asset management
  • the role of the government, and the regulator.

Click here to read the Executive Summary.

The whole series, along with an introduction can be found on this recent CUE Post.

Some of the overall conclusions include:

  • LDC’s will face obligations to maintain a reliable grid with a shrinking revenue base
  • Increased severe weather will require coordinated outage response and related communications.  A smarter grid will be needed to build the required resiliency.
  • LDC’s will have to make significant investments in their physical, and human resource assets in the years ahead.
  • There needs to be better coordination, cooperation and consultation between the government (who has an integral role in long term planning of the system) and LDC’s, especially in a time of significant technological change, and evolving economic conditions.

As a local distribution company (LDC) with a broad geographic customer and asset base, Hydro One has significant challenges in all of these areas which will impact customer service, and of course electricity bills in the short and the long term.

Quotable (from CUE):

In light of the recent public policy discussions ongoing about the fate of Ontario’s electricity industry, we hope this series will help contribute to the effort to collaboratively enable the distribution network of the 21st century.”

 

Terry ReesChallenges for Ontario’s electrical utilities