Monday, 7 April 2008

Ontario Smart Grid Forum launched

Ontario's electricity sector has begun a broad-based industry dialogue to develop a vision for a provincial smart grid that will provide consumers with more efficient, responsive and cost-effective electricity service. The Ontario Smart Grid Forum launched today by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in collaboration with representatives from local distribution companies will bring together leaders from across the sector.

"The transformation taking place within the province's electricity sector, combined with advances in information technology, creates a unique opportunity for the development of a smart grid," said Paul Murphy, President and CEO of the Independent Electricity System Operator. "This forum builds on the provincial Smart Metering Initiative to install smart meters in all homes and businesses by 2010 and complements the renewal taking place in Ontario's transmission and generation sectors."

An initial working group, made up of senior representatives from the IESO, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa, Burlington Hydro and Toronto Hydro, will help define the membership and terms of reference for the broader Smart Grid Forum. New members will be added over the coming weeks to ensure a broad cross-sector representation.

"Hydro One recognized the potential benefits of smart grid advancements during the conceptual stage of its smart meter initiative," said Laura Formusa, President and CEO of Hydro One. "Leveraging the two-way communications provided by advanced metering allows us to monitor performance of our electricity system and will also provide our customers with new opportunities to actively participate in a variety of conservation and demand management initiatives - a key requirement in our design decision."

"Smart meters are just the first step - sending and receiving information to and from the power grid," said David O'Brien, President and CEO of Toronto Hydro Corporation. "Smart meter technologies open the door to smart home - where residential consumers can manage their electricity consumption more effectively with in-home control systems, self-generation such as solar panels, and smart appliances."

"Ontario - and Ottawa in particular - relies on high-tech industries as a major source of new jobs. These businesses demand high levels of reliability and power quality, and smart grid technology will be a valuable tool for achieving this," said Norm Fraser, Chief Operating Officer of Hydro Ottawa. "We see the smart grid as an important business attraction tool, providing the province with an additional competitive advantage in the years ahead."

"By leveraging smart grid capabilities, we'll be creating an electricity system that is not only more efficient in the way it delivers electricity, but is also more flexible, accommodating more demand response and other environmentally-sustainable sources of supply," said David Collie, President and CEO of Burlington Hydro and Past Chair of the Electricity Distributors Association.

The full Forum will hold its first meeting in May, with a final report expected by the end of 2008, identifying benefits that will arise from smart grid investments and what needs to be done to enable implementation.

Source: IESO

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