Improving Value and Performance for Customers
The government plans to enhance the energy sector becomes as a more consumer-focused, and commits to working with the OEB to improve the performance and efficiency of LCDs, and to redesign electricity bills to make it easier for consumers to understand and manage their energy costs.
The government will direct the IESO to develop a competitive selection or procurement process for transmission, and to identify possible pilot projects.
Analysis: Electricity bills need to be clearer and more understandable. While the 2017 LTEP makes a positive step in this direction, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to advocate for greater transparency and predictability in the energy system, including the need for the government to create a separate line item on natural gas bills for cap and trade-related costs.
Energy Conservation and Efficiency
The LTEP places a further emphasis on the importance of a Demand Response capacity auction.
The government provided insight into its Green Ontario Fund, which will provide energy consumers with a co-ordinated one-window approach to encourage conservation across multiple energy services and programs.
Analysis: The 2017 LTEP commits to conservation as a means for sustaining Ontario’s energy system and a tool for consumers to manage their energy costs, while emphasizing the importance of Demand Response mechanisms such as a capacity auction. Since 2015, the Ontario Chamber Network has called for a capacity auction, as a means to create greater opportunities for Demand Response to grow further and compete with other resources.
Supporting Regional Solutions and Infrastructure
The government commits to working with local communities to develop plans for meeting their diverse energy requirements. The government has indicated with the first cycle of regional and municipal energy planning complete, the IESO will begin making recommendations that address the challenges and opportunities that have emerged in individual communities.
Analysis: The Ontario Chamber Network is encouraged to see the expansion of natural gas, particularly for northern communities, giving consumers greater choice and aiding in economic development. Natural gas assets enabled the transition off coal-fired generation and provided a source of on-demand power to backstop wind and solar resources. As a flexible and responsive resource, natural gas adaptability will be instrumental for regional planning as a mechanism to keep costs down.