In late October, Ontario’s Minister of Energy (Glenn Thibeault) issued Directives to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), requiring each body to prepare “implementation plans” setting out the steps they intend to take to implement the goals and objectives set out in the 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (2017 LTEP). These Directives are consistent with the new process for creating and implementing LTEPs as set out in Bill 135 that was passed in 2016. As we discussed in an earlier post, the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015 gave the government responsibility for creating the LTEP, but made clear that the government would work with agencies like the IESO and OEB to ensure the timely implementation of the plans set out in the LTEP.

The 2017 LTEP (described here) addresses a broad range of topics and is organized into chapters with headings such as “Ensuring Affordable and Accessible Energy”; “Ensuring a Flexible Energy System”; “Innovating to Meet the Future”; and “Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change.” In some cases, the 2017 LTEP highlights ongoing government plans to meet the challenges of the topics and, in other cases, new plans and initiatives are announced.

The Minister’s Directives issued to the IESO and the OEB indicate that each must submit “an implementation plan containing an outline of the steps that the [OEB/ISEO] intends to take to implement the goals and objectives set out in [the 2017 LTEP]” and further indicate that “The plan shall reflect the content of the relevant chapters of Delivering Fairness and Choice and include steps that clearly demonstrate how the [OEB/IESO] plans to implement the policy reviews, processes and other initiatives enumerated [in each Directive].” Each of the Directives includes a different list of initiatives to be addressed in the respective implementation plans. The implementation plans are to be submitted by January 31, 2018.

The Minister’s Directive issued to the IESO includes initiatives to be addressed under three headings: Supporting Indigenous Capacity and Leadership; Encouraging an Innovative Sector; and Delivering a Flexible and Efficient System. Some key items for which IESO must prepare an implementation plan are:

  • Proposing options to improve energy support and conservation programs for First Nations and Métis.
  • Working with the OEB to review market rules, industry codes and regulations to identify potential obstacles to fair competition for energy storage with other technologies, and to propose mitigation strategies.
  • Developing a competitive transmitter selection or transmission procurement process that is transparent and flexible, including identifying pilot projects for this process.

The Minister’s Directive issued to the IESO also includes five other items for which an implementation plan must be prepared. The IESO has initiated a public engagement process to gather input towards the implementation plan. A first step is a webinar to be held on November 22.

The Minister’s Directive issued to the OEB includes initiatives to be addressed under five headings: Delivering Efficiency and Value; Ensuring Affordable and Accessible Energy; Enhancing Commitment to Energy Conservation and Efficiency; Responding to Climate Change Challenge; and Encouraging an Innovative Sector. Key items that the OEB must address in its implementation plan include the following:

  • Examining and identifying steps for pursuing opportunities to advance the cost-effective modernization of Ontario’s electricity sector, including non-wires solutions, customer participation and energy efficiency.
  • Identifying barriers to the development of distributed energy resources such as energy storage at scales and locations that provide value to transmission, distribution and customers.
  • Identifying tools and steps that would mitigate costs for ratepayers (such as reduced regulatory review) and enhance consumer protection in relation to unit sub-meter providers and in the natural gas sector.
  • Continuing to implement the Regulated Price Plan Roadmap (discussed here), including consideration of new pricing structures that give stronger price signals.

The Minister’s Directive issued to the OEB includes six other items for which an implementation plan must be prepared. At this time, there is no mention of any stakeholder consultation process on the OEB website.