Ontario government revises energy efficiency program with IESO

Peter Saunders
March 22, 2019
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Ontario government revises energy efficiency program with IESO
Photo by IESO
March 22, 2019 – In a move intended to reduce electricity rates, Ontario’s government has issued orders in council and directives to discontinue its energy efficiency program’s framework prematurely, replacing it with an interim framework that will be delivered centrally by the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), rather than by local distribution companies (LDCs).

Greg Rickford, Ontario’s minister of energy, northern development and mines, has directed IESO to wind down the Conservation First Framework, which was developed to run from 2015 to 2020, and begin central delivery on a province-wide basis—with a focus on business and industrial programs—on Apr. 1, 2019, continuing until Dec. 31, 2020.

The government estimates the plan will save electricity customers up to $442 million over the next three years. It cites such scenarios as an auto-sector company consuming 15,000 Mwh per month enjoying a bill reduction of about $15,000 per month, while a mining-sector company consuming 50,000 Mwh over the same period would save $30,000.

Within the next month, IESO is to present a conservation and demand management (CDM) plan and provide more specific details. This plan is expected to include the following or equivalent programs, among others:
- Retrofit: To provide incentives to businesses for updating old or inefficient motors, variable frequency drives (VFDs) and other equipment.
- Energy manager: To provide funding for portions of salaries of energy managers.
- Small business lighting: To provide assessments and incentives for lighting upgrades.
- Process and system upgrades: To provide incentives, tools and resources to help identify, implement and validate energy efficiency projects.
- Energy performance: To provide incentives to businesses for whole-building energy improvements.

The following programs are among those to be discontinued:
- Business refrigeration incentive: Provides incentives for businesses to install product refrigeration equipment upgrades.
- Audit funding: Provides funding for a portion of the cost of a facility energy audit.
- Existing building commissioning: Provides incentives for improving the efficiency of chilled water systems, including audit, purchase and installation of equipment.
- Monitoring and targeting: Provides incentives to purchase, install and operate a monitoring and targeting system.

For further details on the refocused and discontinued programs, click here.

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