Ontario Utilities and the Smart Grid:

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Nov 21, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)


Ontario Utilities and the Smart Grid:
Is there room for innovation?

Market Insights
Content Lead and Market Analyst:
Jesika Briones,
MaRS Market Intelligence

Jesika Briones
Nicolette Blase

Some participants in our research chose not to be identified by name in this report. We thank them for their support

of this project, and we also thank the following individuals and organizations for their participation:
Dan Guatto,
Burlington Hydro Inc.
David Curtis,
Hydro One Networks
Doug Bond,
Hydro One Brampton Networks Inc.
Jim Buter,
Horizon Utilities Corporation
John Mulrooney,
PowerStream Inc.
Matthew Weninger,
Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc.
Michael Angemeer,
Veridian Connections Inc.
Norm Fraser,
Hydro Ottawa Limited
Steven Scott,
Enersource Corporation
Sushma Narisetty-Gupta,
Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited
The information provided in this report is presented in summary form, is general in nature, current only as of the date of publication and is provided for
informational purposes only. Specific advice should be sought from a qualified legal or other appropriate professional.
MaRS Discovery District, ©January 2012
Table of Contents
Introduction / 04
The world stage: Who’s who in smart grid development / 05

Assessing utilities / 05

Assessing technologies / 06
Ontario: A snapshot of 10 utilities and their smart grid activity / 07

Burlington Hydro Inc. / 07

Enersource Corporation / 08

Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. / 09

Hydro One Brampton Networks Inc. / 10

Hydro One Networks / 11

Hydro Ottawa Limited / 13

PowerStream Inc. / 14

Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited / 16

Veridian Connections Inc. / 18

Horizon Utilities Corporation / 19
The role of the regulator / 20

Background / 20

Smart regulations / 20

The broader context / 21
Conclusion / 22
Endnotes / 23
Although much has been said about the consumerization of
the smart grid, Ontario entrepreneurs can still benefit from
more insight into the specific technology needs of utilities so
they can be alert to potential business opportunities. There
is a misperception that only regulators and system operators
have full access to details about the utilities’ infrastructure and
about the activities they are undertaking to modernize the grid.
However, this information is available to entrepreneurs and
other stakeholders—the question is knowing where to conduct
research. With improved knowledge of what projects interest
utilities, Ontario startups will be better positioned to develop
their products and enter the market.
The purpose of this report is to summarize where utilities’
smart grid policies and technologies now stand and where they
are heading. It highlights the global frontrunners in the race
toward the smart grid, and outlines how industry stakeholders
(regulators, policy-makers, utilities, vendors, academics and
customers) can assess which utilities and technologies are
considered as the “smartest.” The role of the Ontario regulator
is discussed in view of smart grid implementation, as are the
policy-setting objectives and challenges it currently faces.
This report takes an up-close look at 10 of Ontario’s utilities,
examining their characteristics and the innovative projects

they are undertaking. To contextualize Ontario’s overall
progress, the report also looks at innovative regulation in

the international market.
The world stage: Who’s who

in smart grid development
Countries the world over are embracing the smart grid. By
using technology that enables communication between the
electrical grid and the appliances that use energy, smart grids
create a more efficient flow and consumption of electricity, and
can be designed to integrate renewable energy into the system.
Energy providers embrace the smart grid, which reduces
operating costs and waste, helps providers better anticipate
and distribute power, and enables them to better meet
growing demand. Consumers benefit from the smart grid too,
because it gives them the opportunity to better manage their
consumption and costs.
As shown in Figure 1, China is at the forefront of the global
advance, having earmarked $7.32 billion in 2010 for investment
in smart grid infrastructure. The US follows next, with
investment set at $7.09 billion, and Japan and South Korea are
in the third and fourth positions. Spain led Europe in 2010 with
an investment of $807 million, putting it fifth overall in

the world.
Figure 1: Top 10 countries for smart grid
investment, 2010
General Electric Company. (2010, November 9).
Top 10 countries for
smart grid investment.
These frontrunner positions, however, are set to change in the
next few years. India is ramping up its deployment of smart
meters and expects to have approximately 130 million operating
by 2021, which will catapult it to third place worldwide in the
implementation of smart grid technology.
It is worth noting that while some of the countries above are
still working to deploy smart meters, Ontario has already
invested $1 billion in smart meter infrastructure. According to
the Ontario Smart Grid Forum Report of May 2011, the province
is the first jurisdiction in North America to equip every small
business and home (save condos and multi-unit buildings) with
a smart meter. This landmark step makes possible time-of-
use (TOU) rates which better reflect true market prices and
the variable costs of power generation based on supply and
demand. As of September 30, 2010, the process of smart
meter installation was 94 complete, with over 4.3 million
meters in place. By the end of 2010, Ontario utilities had moved
approximately 1.6 million customers to TOU billing and were
working to implement this system for all customers.
3, 4

Assessing utilities
Deployment is easier said than done, however. Here in Ontario, the
Smart Grid Working Group (SGWG) of the Ontario Energy Board
(OEB) recognizes that inconsistency among local distribution
companies’ interpretations of the smart grid makes collaboration
difficult. As indicated by the summary of its meeting of March 1,
2010, each utility has a different level of technical maturity.
The lack of unity of vision for the smart grid makes both
collaboration and implementation difficult. To counter this,
many tools have been developed by academic and private
organizations to guide utilities in their implementation of new
technologies. One such tool is the Smart Grid Maturity Model
(SGMM), developed in 2009 by the Software Engineering
Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. As shown in Figure 2, this
model ranks smart grid implementation at five different levels.
Figure 2: Smart Grid Maturity Model (SGMM):
Levels, descriptions and results
Software Engineering Institute. (2009).
An overview of the smart
grid maturity model (SGMM).
A 2011 report on the SGMM showed that this assessment model
has an international draw, with 60 of participating utilities
located in the US, 16 in the Asia-Pacific region, 11 in Europe
and the Middle East, and 13 elsewhere in the world.
Figure 3: Average and range of maturity scores for
all SGMM Compass survey responses
Software Engineering Institute. (2011).
Smart grid maturity model
update, 2011
What makes a utility intelligent?
Intelligent Utility
magazine teamed up with IDC Energy Insights
in 2009 to develop an assessment tool that takes a different
measurement approach than the SGMM Compass. Called the
UtiliQ, it ranks the top 25 US “intelligent” electric utilities. They
define “intelligent companies” as those that “apply information
to energy, maximizing [their] reliability, affordability and
sustainability from generation to end users.” Beyond
technology investments, they also recognize investments in
people and processes. One of the goals of this ranking system
is to help utilities “benchmark their intelligence and measure
progress against their stated goals and objectives.” In 2010,
five specific criteria, called “intelligence metrics,” were used to
gauge utilities’ performance:


Renewable energy

Smart initiatives

Demand response/energy efficiency

IT investment
Using these intelligence metrics, UtiliQ assigns a performance
score and then puts these numbers together to arrive at
a “utility intelligence quotient.” Figure 4 shows a sample
breakdown of the UtiliQ ranking.
The authors suggest that utilities aiming to boost their
intelligence quotients should concentrate their efforts in these
three areas:

Drive company cultural change (i.e., ensure that employees
understand the company’s strategies and goals, and why

they matter)

Improve “lean” and “green” processes (to reduce costs,
making way for innovation and growth)

Spend wisely on technology investments (to meet strategic
goals and abide by regulatory frameworks while still
delivering customer value)
Figure 4: UtiliQ ranking breakdown: 2010

Assessing technologies
While it is important to track and recognize how utilities are
progressing in the smart grid landscape, it is also critical
to monitor the growth of the underlying technologies,
i.e., the wide range of hardware, software, application and
communications technologies that produce the smart grid.
Right now, these are at different levels of maturity and are
advancing at varying rates. Some technologies are proven,
while others have yet to be demonstrated or deployed on a
major scale. An International Energy Agency report notes
that projects around the world are focused on smart grid
technologies, and it advocates a coordinated, integrated
approach to maximize investment and to leverage the lessons
learned from demonstration or deployment projects.
Figure 5 highlights a sample of smart grid technology areas and
contrasts their maturity levels and current development trends.
Figure 5: Smart grid technologies: Maturity levels
and development trends
International Energy Agency. (2011).
Technology roadmap: Smart grids
The most recent maturity model suggests that utilities that
have taken the SGMM Compass survey (a self-assessment
tool) more than once are making progress in their efforts to
modernize the grid. Overall, this study shows that utilities are
just beginning to implement smart grid technologies, with
average maturity levels concentrated at Level 1 (Figure 3).
Burlington Hydro Inc.

1340 Brant Street, Burlington, ON L7R 3Z2
Company description
Energy services company in the power distribution business
Communities served
City of Burlington, Ontario
Number of clients
65,000 residential and commercial customers

Burlington Hydro maintains 32 substations and almost 1,600 km of medium-voltage distribution lines to
deliver electricity.
Company ownership
The company is wholly owned by the City of Burlington.
Utility’s definition

of smart grid
“It’s a shift in the way we conceptualize energy and the way we use energy.
As a utility, we used to have a system where energy would flow one way—now we are moving to a system
when energy will flow many ways.
The smart grid has to enable us to deal with elements on the grid that were never there before, such
as advanced switching (an element of self-healing), energy storage and meeting the changing needs of
customers (i.e., with enhanced reliability systems).”
Innovative projects

Pure Electric Project:
Using an all-electric vehicle, this project will study the operating characteristics
of an all-electric fleet vehicle in practical, real-world working conditions.

The Power to Conserve:
This initiative promotes community-wide conservation programs for consumers.

Distribution Automation:
Using innovative S&C Electric technology, a “self-healing grid” has been
created in the heart of Burlington to protect the city’s most mission-critical assets from outages.

Smart Meter Deployment:
This initiative is to help consumers learn more about smart grids, time-
differentiated prices and in-home energy management tools.

Building GridSmartCity™:
This program explores major elements of the smart grid and their
interaction to advocate for investments that best represent the interest of customers.
Working with

Pure Electric Vehicle Demonstration

University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo is a key research partner in the Pure Electric Vehicle Demonstration and will
develop assessment and management tools to help integrate plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) into
the electricity grid. It will also monitor the performance of both the vehicle and the grid and submit study
results and recommendations for future projects.
McMaster University

As part of its extensive involvement with the Pure Electric Vehicle Demonstration, McMaster University
will have its engineering faculty research charging stations and their impact on utility operating systems.
As well, its science faculty will probe the psychology of how customers interact with electric vehicles, and
the DeGroote School of Business will examine relevant economic and market dynamics.
What is unique

about this utility

GridSmartCity™: This project works with an innovative electric vehicle (EV) to explore major elements
of the smart grid and their interactions simultaneously. This will allow Burlington Hydro and its
GridSmartCity™ partners to acquire key insights into smart grid-related initiatives to advocate for
investments that best represent customers’ interests. According to Burlington Hydro, this is the first
time so many commercial and utility partners have assembled around such an effort.
b) This utility recognizes the value of energy storage to increase grid reliability.
Opportunities for
GridSmartCity™ is a model forum for enhanced collaboration between local distribution companies, major
customers, suppliers and other energy-focused organizations.
Ontario: A snapshot of 10 utilities

and their smart grid activity
The profiles below feature 10 of Ontario’s utilities, highlighting their characteristics and the innovative projects
in which they are engaged.
Enersource Corporation

3240 Mavis Road, Mississauga, ON L5C 3K1
Company description
Energy services company in the electricity distribution business
Communities served
Mississauga, Ontario
Number of clients
200,000 residential and commercial customers

Enersource’s electrical system spans more than 5,000 km. It operates 65 municipal substations and more
than 25,000 distribution transformers.
Company ownership
The City of Mississauga owns 90 of Enersource, and BPC Energy Corporation (Borealis), which is part of
the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, owns 10.
Utility’s definition

of smart grid
For Enersource, the smart grid means utilizing the distribution system to its utmost so that people can
work and live in their community at the lowest cost possible.
Innovative projects

Integrated-operating model (IOM):
This is a system implemented through a company called
Intergraph. The system offers control-room operators a single interface to monitor and respond to a
vast volume of data coming in from different points of the smart grid. An outage notification in a meter
is connected to the IOM system, which allows operators and field crews quick detection and accurate
information to remedy any problems.

Customer communication:
Using social media, Enersource keeps customers aware of the status of
outages and other energy-related news. Enersource has also upgraded its customer care and billing system.
Working with

Discussions with the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) are ongoing, concerning
opportunities for asset management and research.
Enersource, recognizing that academic research and testing can lead to practical and innovative
solutions, welcomes academic partnerships.
What is unique

about this utility
The company is dedicated to cost-effective solutions. Before it decides whether to implement a new
technology, Enersource performs a diligent analysis based on a systematic asset (i.e., hard infrastructure)
management process.
Opportunities for
Enersource assigns a lower priority to experimenting with its infrastructure than to concentrating on its
customer interface and on innovative ways to connect with customers. This connection now happens
chiefly through the company’s conservation programs. It is looking for new ideas and pilot programs
pertaining to elements of the customer interface (e.g., in-home displays, social media, billing systems), as
well as to energy efficiency.
Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc.

395 Southgate Drive, Guelph, ON N1G 4Y1
Company description
Energy services company in the power distribution business
Communities served
City of Guelph and the Village of Rockwood
Number of clients
50,000 homes and businesses

Size of service area (Guelph and Rockwood): 93 km

Total overhead lines: 429 km

Total underground cable: 620 km
Company ownership
Utility’s definition

of smart grid
“An automated, widely-distributed energy delivery network, characterized by a two-way flow of
electricity and information, which will be capable of monitoring everything from power plants to
customer preferences to individual appliances. It incorporates the benefits of distributed computing and
communications to deliver real-time information and enable the near-instantaneous balance of supply
and demand at the device level.”
Innovative projects

Renewable generator connection upgrades:
Guelph Hydro anticipates the majority of renewable
energy connection requests will pertain to solar projects (rather than biogas or wind). While its
distribution network is designed to accept an influx of renewable energy generation, the utility foresees
expanding the system to accommodate future needs.

Geographic Information System (GIS)
software developed by Guelph Hydro has earned industry
recognition and has been licensed for use by 15 other Ontario utilities. The software links customer
information with the location of electricity network infrastructure, global positioning of service vehicles
and staff, and weather information (such as lightning strikes), enabling the efficient dispatch of repair
crews in the event of an outage, as well as remote access to work orders and site information for

field crews.



(GEA) Plan projects:
Guelph Hydro has proposed a number of innovative projects
as part of its GEA Plan, which is currently under review by the Ontario Energy Board. Projects include:

In-Home Display Messaging Project

Electric Vehicle Charging Station Project

Smart Grid High School Education Project

Smart Grid-Smart Home
Demonstration Project
Guelph Hydro expects to receive notification regarding the status of its GEA Plan and these potential
projects in early 2012.

-enabled smart meters:
As part of its smart meter rollout, Guelph Hydro has incorporated
an innovative, secondary communications chip (ZigBee
) in all of its smart meters, which will advance
customer education, energy conservation and home automation opportunities.
Working with
Guelph Hydro has worked with the University of Guelph and Ontario Centres of Excellence on projects in
the past, and further collaboration with these entities and others on GEA Plan projects is a possibility.
What is unique

about this utility
In 2011, the Ontario Energy Association named Guelph Hydro as “Large Company of the Year” for
excelling in a number of areas, including leadership in the field of sustainability. Guelph Hydro is
unique for its deployment of ZigBee
chip-enabled smart meters throughout its service territory, for
the recognition of its leadership in GIS technology, and for being among the first utilities in Ontario to
conduct an electric vehicle survey of customers. Its distribution network is relatively modern, allowing it
to better accommodate such projects as electric vehicle charging or implementing sophisticated system
modelling and planning tools.
Opportunities for
Collaboration with entrepreneurs on proposed GEA Plan projects is a possibility for Guelph Hydro.
Hydro One Brampton Networks Inc.

175 Sandalwood Parkway West, Brampton, ON L7A 1E8
Company description
Energy services company in the power distribution business
Communities served
City of Brampton
Number of clients
137,000 homes and businesses

Hydro One Brampton delivers electricity to its customers through 2,231 km of overhead primary
distribution lines using some 13,500 pole structures, as well as 2,926 km of underground primary cables.
The primary voltage is stepped down to utilization voltages through approximately 15,600 transformers
owned by local distribution companies (LDCs).
Company ownership
Hydro One Brampton Networks is a subsidiary of Hydro One Inc. and is part of the Hydro One family of
Utility’s definition

of smart grid
For Hydro One Brampton, the smart grid means connectivity of devices with customers.
Innovative projects
Smart meter integration:
Once the smart meter infrastructure is implemented, there may be an
opportunity to process power outages into the Outage Management System (OMS). Many smart metering
systems can provide a “last gasp” notification when power is lost at individual meter locations. These
notifications are then processed into the OMS system, automatically alerting the control centre of the
outage in less time than would a phoned-in report from a customer. The InService OMS is designed to
handle outage information from this source; however, an additional interface is required to communicate
between the smart meter network and the OMS system. The estimated timeframe for completion of this
project is 2013.
Working with
Hydro One Brampton is not working with any academic partners.
What is unique

about this utility
All of Hydro One Brampton’s business applications are custom-developed using the programming
language, RPGIV, and Computer Associates Cool/2E 4GL.
Opportunities for
The utility needs a data storage system to hold all the smart meter data it has collected, and needs
software to properly analyze it.
Hydro One Networks

483 Bay Street, North Tower, 15
Floor Reception, Toronto, ON M5G 2P5
Company description
Hydro One is the largest electricity transmission and distribution company in Ontario.
Communities served
Hydro One’s transmission system is one of the largest in North America and is linked to five adjoining
jurisdictions through 26 interconnections.
Its distribution system is the largest in Ontario and spans roughly 75 of the province. It also operates
small, regulated generation and distribution systems in a number of remote communities across
Northern Ontario that are not connected to Ontario’s electricity grid.
Hydro One.
Transforming Energy: 2010 Annual Report
Number of clients

Large-user customers: 412

Remote communities served: 21

Rural and urban distribution customers: approximately 1.3 million

Local distribution companies: 75

Hydro One distributes electricity though its 123,500 circuit-kilometre low-voltage distribution system,
serving Ontario’s rural areas and municipalities.

The utility transmits energy through a 28,951 circuit-kilometre high-voltage network. Transmission lines
are overhead except for 282 circuit-kilometres of underground lines in urban areas.

Hydro One owns and operates 26 facilities that interconnect its transmission system with systems in
neighbouring provinces and states, which can accommodate imports of about 4,600 MW and exports of
about 6,000 MW.

The utility’s transmission system includes 284 transmission stations and 1,008 distribution and
regulating stations.

Company ownership
The utility is a Crown corporation established under the
Business Corporations Act
(Ontario) with a single
shareholder, the government of Ontario. Hydro One owns and operates nearly all of Ontario’s electricity
transmission system. In 2010, it accounted for about 96 of Ontario’s transmission capacity, as measured
by revenue. Its subsidiaries include:

Hydro One Remote Communities Inc.

Hydro One Telecom Inc.

Hydro One Brampton Inc.
Utility’s definition

of smart grid
“Hydro One’s distribution strategy is focused on incorporating smart grid technology, providing
reliable service over a diverse geography, supporting the connection of renewable generation, seeking
efficiencies through productivity initiatives and remaining open to opportunities to rationalize the
distribution sector.”
Hydro One.
Transforming Energy: 2010 Annual Report

Innovative projects
The most important project the utility has underway is its Advanced Distribution System (ADS) project.
With the first phase being implemented in the Owen Sound area, the project will examine how best
to manage the network as distributed generation, demand and supply controls, and access at the
distribution level become more available options for customers. With a system that is no longer radial,
Volt/VAR controls are needed to ensure that power quality is not affected.
The ADS project has four main objectives, with the first one being of primary importance. The project
aims to:

Integrate over 10,000 distributed generators of various sizes and complexities into the distribution
system (as a result of the response to the
Green Energy Act
’s Feed-in Tariff program).
2. Advance and automate the distribution operations needed to improve the reliability of distribution.

Leverage the smart meter system to restore power outages quickly and minimize the number of
customers affected.
4. Add new data sources to the asset planning and analytical tools for the distribution network.
Over 2012, the utility will test the effectiveness of the first phase. If successful, the ADS project will be
rolled out across Hydro One’s distribution network.
Working with
In conjunction with Ryerson University, Hydro One has established the Centre for Urban Energy. This
unique venture will research innovative and practical solutions for urban energy issues. This partnership
will not only enable the utility to identify solutions for integrating new technologies, but it will also help
foster energy-sector leaders of tomorrow.
Hydro One has also teamed up with the University of Western Ontario and the University of Waterloo
to build partnerships that promote innovative electrical engineering solutions to connect clean and
renewable energy. These initiatives include student scholarships and awards.
Hydro One.

Transforming Energy: 2010 Annual Report

In recent years, the utility has worked with Mohawk College, Northern College, Algonquin College and
Georgian College as part of a campaign to recruit technologists and technicians. More recently, it has set
up a research collaboration to study electric vehicles (EVs). Through this venture, Hydro One is working
with a GM EV, which is helping to advance its research in the field.
Hydro One also maintains many non-academic research partnerships, such as those with the Electric
Power Research Institute (facilitating connections with large US utilities), Kinectrics (the research
institute run by Hydro Québec) and CIGRE (which is Paris-based, facilitating partnerships with European
and Asian utilities).
What is unique

about this utility
Hydro One defines itself as being ahead of the curve in terms of technology adoption. It constantly
measures its progress against industry standards, such the IBM smart grid maturity model, and monitors
its best practices against those of other large utilities that use the same technologies. To not become a
testing ground for innovative technologies, Hydro One avoids relying on specific tools, so that decisions
are not based on tools that may later prove ineffective.
Opportunities for
Because of its size and reach, the company has the ability to work with entrepreneurs and can offer
opportunities to small companies that they would not otherwise find in Ontario.
Hydro Ottawa Limited

3025 Albion Road North, PO Box 8700, Ottawa, ON K1G 3S4
Company description
Energy services company in the power distribution business
Communities served
City of Ottawa and the Village of Casselman
Number of clients

Hydro Ottawa has 84 distribution stations, 2,700 km of underground cable, 2,700 km of overhead lines,
42,500 transformers and 48,600 hydro poles.
Company ownership
The utility is wholly owned by the City of Ottawa.
Utility’s definition

of smart grid
“Modernization. The world is changing and our customers’ expectations are going up and technology is
dramatically accelerating. We want to bring the power system closer to the customer, and vice versa, so
we can make the most of technology already implemented, such as smart meters.”
Innovative projects
Hydro Ottawa is keen to keep customers informed and satisfied by helping them to understand and
adjust their electricity consumption, and by applying solutions to restore power quickly when outages
happen. Efficient communication concerning power outages is a key smart grid objective for the utility,
and WEBMAPS is the newest piece of this strategy. With updates every 15 minutes, the system provides
customers with details on the location, cause and extent of outages, as well as the estimated time of power
restoration, if known.
In tandem with its smart grid activity, the company also promotes reducing energy use in general. Some of
its conservation programs include:

Fridge and freezer pickup:
This program collects fridges and freezers over 15 years old for free and
recycles them in an environmentally-friendly way.

Heating and cooling incentive:
Using financial incentives, this initiative encourages customers to
install energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.

Conservation Owl:
A staunch environmentalist adopted by Hydro Ottawa as its ambassador of energy
conservation, this owl spreads his message on Facebook as well as on Twitter, where he “twoots.”
Working with
Algonquin College

Hydro Ottawa runs an apprenticeship program for those interested in becoming certified Stations
Electricians. As part of the program, participants rotate annually through each major component of the
utility’s department training.
Algonquin College is establishing itself as a leader in energy conservation, upgrading existing campus
infrastructure to improve building performance and decrease power consumption. In doing so, the

college is promoting energy awareness throughout its entire community. In February 2008, Hydro

Ottawa recognized Algonquin’s effort with the “Companies for Conservation” award.
Carleton University

In partnership with Hydro Ottawa, Carleton University opened the Hydro Ottawa Laboratory for Smart
Grid Technologies in November 2011. This venture enables Carleton students to experiment with the
emerging smart electricity infrastructure, to learn about integrating alternate and sustainable power
sources and about improving the efficiency and reliability of the energy supply.
What is unique

about this utility
Hydro Ottawa is striving to leverage technology to deliver improved service and communications
to customers. In 2010, the company received Chartwell Inc.’s “Best Practices Award in Outage
Communications” for its automated system that fields information about power outages and relays
effective and up-to-date information to employees and customers.
Opportunities for
Hydro Ottawa foresees opportunities for entrepreneurs. Currently, the utility is reviewing a few pilot
projects with entrepreneurs in the Home Area Networks (HANs) field.
PowerStream Inc.

161 Cityview Boulevard, Vaughan, ON L4H 0A9
Company description
Energy services company in the power distribution business
Communities served
Alliston, Aurora, Barrie, Beeton, Bradford, West Gwillimbury, Markham, Penetanguishene, Richmond Hill,
Thornton, Tottenham and Vaughan
Number of clients

PowerStream’s distribution system consists of 2,551 km of overhead circuit wires and 4,830 km of
underground cable. Peak demand is 2,000 MW.
Company ownership
The company is jointly owned by the municipalities of Barrie, Markham and Vaughan.
Utility’s definition

of smart grid
“The smart grid uses new technologies to optimize distribution for the benefit of the end customer.”
Innovative projects
Please refer to PowerStream’s smart grid map below (Figure 6):
Figure 6: Anticipated target areas, PowerStream
PowerStream is currently pursuing the following projects:

Digital fault indicators (DFI):
This new technology employs a device that monitors power line loading
and temperature and communicates to the PowerStream control room when a fault has occurred,
also giving information on the fault type and duration. This technology uses the same Sensus Flexnet
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) communications system used by smart meters.

Meter in a can:
This project involves installing smart meters inside transformer boxes to streamline
the process of reporting a problem (obviating the situation where, for example, a dozen different home
smart meters report the same problem). Other benefits of this technology include the ability to:

monitor and report overloading of transformers

detect power diversion

optimize circuit operation

control smart chargers used with EV (electric vehicle) technology

Self-healing grid:
This new technology uses existing control and switching systems to automatically
sense, isolate and immediately respond to power system disturbances, while continually optimizing its
own economic and operational performance.
Working with
Queen’s University

Using data from the smart meter system, this partnership studied the impact of electric vehicle (EV)
charging on residential distribution assets, and determined that two or more Level 2 EV chargers would
overload the transformers. Its report recommended a controlled smart charger solution to avoid the
overloading situation.
In 2011–2012, Queen’s will study opportunities and issues associated with vehicle-to-grid electricity
transfer from EVs. This technology has the potential to shift load from the middle of the day to the
middle of the night. The study also addresses the potential repurposing of the EV battery once it has
reached end-of-life as a transportation energy source.
University of Waterloo

Communications and storage research:
1. Waterloo is evaluating the effectiveness of using rotating energy storage technology within
PowerStream’s distribution system.
2. Waterloo prepared a MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems)
project titled “Protection Coordination Planning with Distributed Generation (DG) and the Impact of
DG on Safety, Equipment and Distribution System Operation.” The project identified and evaluated the
protection and control issues associated with renewable generation on the distribution system.
3. Waterloo undertook a project to investigate the size of backup storage required to absorb excess
generation during light load and bright sunlight to keep the voltage from exceeding established high-
voltage limits.
Georgian College

Electric vehicle program:
PowerStream is working with Georgian College to demonstrate and pilot several areas of technology
associated with EVs—namely, smart-charger control using smart meter input, vehicle-to-home energy
transfer and Level 3 high-rate EV charging.
What is unique

about this utility
PowerStream has identified clear areas of opportunity to help its organization lead in the development of
a reliable and cost-effective grid for the benefit of the customer. The company relies on the vision of its
senior management and the knowledge and training of its employees, giving them the power to decide
whether a “smart solution” is beneficial to the customer.
Opportunities for
PowerStream is currently working on projects with General Electric, Better Place, Schweitzer, Sensus/
Horstmann, Temporal Power and others to identify smart initiatives.
As a growing utility with an increasing number of clients, PowerStream is actively seeking to be a leader
in applying new technologies that fit with its overall mission and vision and to do so in a prudent, cost-
effective manner.
To support entrepreneurial activities, the company has leveraged financial support programs such as
NRCAN Eco II, the Smart Grid Opportunities Fund, the Ontario EV Infrastructure Fund, and the OPA’s
support funding for conservation and demand management.
Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited

14 Carlton Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1K5
Company description
Through its subsidiaries, Toronto Hydro Corporation

Distributes electricity and engages in conservation and demand management activities.

Maintains and operates the street lights in the city.
Its principal business is Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited (THESL). It’s the largest municipal
electricity distribution company in Canada and distributes approximately 19 of the electricity consumed
in Ontario.
Communities served
City of Toronto
Number of clients
Approximately 700,000

Control centre: 1

Operation centres: 8

Poles: approximately 139,900

Length of overhead wires: over 15,000 km

Length of underground wires: over 10,400 km

Total transformers across the city: approximately 60,500

Company ownership
The company is wholly owned by the City of Toronto.
Utility’s definition

of smart grid
“An intelligent, continually evolving electricity network that delivers value in meeting customer needs and
Innovative projects
The company’s projects include:

Feeder automation

Application of peer-to-peer communicated SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) switches
to isolate and sectionalize a feeder during a fault and restore non-faulted segments

Transformer monitoring

Installing monitoring devices and associated hardware, similar to that of the smart meters, to acquire
more information about grid activity via transformer data

Power-line monitoring

Monitors primary system for power quality, conductor temperature and system losses

Electric vehicle charging stations and the integration of electric vehicles

Smart Experience Program—a pilot program that introduces electric vehicles into the grid and allows
Toronto Hydro to study driving behaviour and its impact on the grid

Community energy storage

Project to develop and install three 250 kW/250 kWh units to demonstrate functionalities in dynamic
load levelling, integrated communication and buffering intermittency of distributed generations
Working with
University of Toronto

A study is underway with the University of Toronto to evaluate the short-circuit contribution of
distributed energy resources in the Toronto Hydro distribution system.
Ryerson University

The project to help modernize the Toronto Hydro network involves integrating systems through enhanced
and advanced communications architecture. The goals are to develop a data-rich, scalable and interactive
grid that provides customers with more direct control over their electricity use and gives the utility
company improved planning, measurement and response tools.
What is unique

about this utility
THESL has established a smart grid community where prioritized initiatives can be tested, processes
developed, customer feedback incorporated and operating procedures created.
The company has also developed a 25-year smart grid roadmap (Figure 7), which highlights the areas it is
currently targeting or anticipates it will target.
Figure 7: Toronto Hydro smart grid roadmap: 25-year vision
Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited. (2011, August 1).
THESL 2012 GEA Plan
, p. 13.
Opportunities for
THESL is an amalgamation of six utilities and operates with a wide array of legacy equipment. In the
opinion of THESL, the utility provides an ideal testing ground for vendors to develop and assess new
solutions, noting that if vendors prove their solutions in its complex environment, then it is likely that
with small adjustments they can deploy the same solutions at other Ontario or North American utilities.
Currently working
with the following

Temporal Power:
With Temporal Power, THESL is exploring the potential of integrating flywheel energy
storage technology into the Ontario electricity grid.

Opus One Solutions:
THESL is pleased to be working with this Toronto-based consulting organization,
which is focused on the innovation, selection, development and effective application of technology.
Veridian Connections Inc.

55 Taunton Road East, Ajax, ON L1T 3V3
Company description
Energy services company in the power distribution business
Communities served
The cities of Pickering and Belleville, the towns of Ajax, Port Hope and Gravenhurst, and the communities
of Uxbridge, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Orono, Port Perry, Beaverton, Sunderland and Cannington
Number of clients

Veridian Connections has 639 km
of service territory and 2,301 km of distribution lines.

Company ownership
Veridian Connections is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Veridian Corporation. The City of Pickering, the
Town of Ajax, the Municipality of Clarington and the City of Belleville jointly own Veridian Corporation.
Utility’s definition

of smart grid
For Veridian, the smart grid is the application of existing and new technologies into the distribution
system that allows for the improved integration of renewable generation, which ultimately delivers
better results to the customer through increased reliability and customer service. Veridian sees that the
implementation of the smart grid might be different for each utility, depending on its specific needs.
Innovative projects

Outage Management System:
This automated system enables operators in a control room to monitor
hundreds of square kilometres of service area and to pinpoint and track the extent of any power outage.
Not only does this system enable crews to be dispatched directly to the critical point on the grid, but the
company can also keep customers informed online about expected repair times and locations.


Veridian Annual Report, 2010

According to Veridian, this project will create the largest self-healing electricity
distribution network in Ontario. The system will be installed in south Ajax, providing service to more
than 6,000 customers. With an investment of approximately $1.8 million, this project will use innovative
technology built by the S&C Electric Company to identify power distribution problems and reroute and
restore service. The expected results will be reduced outages and costs, with a more efficient use, and
therefore longer lifespan, of wires and transformers.


Electric vehicle charging station pilots:
Two different electric vehicle charging-station pilots are
underway right now. One is with Better Place in conjunction with another utility, and the other is with the
Durham Electric Vehicle Group, all members of the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance (DSEA).
Working with
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)

Electric vehicle project:

The vehicle will be used as part of the automotive engineering program’s participation in AUTO21
(Canada’s national automotive research program) and vehicle-to-grid communications testing.
Energy Research Centre:

Veridian has been involved in supporting the new Energy Research Centre at UOIT, through work with
the board of governors and through its financial support for labs. The centre, now opened, will play an
important part in preparing the next generation to implement new forms of alternative generation and
energy systems. Smart grid will be a focus of this energy centre, and the university is participating in an
application to the Ontario Smart Grid fund with Veridian and a number of other DSEA members.
Veridian is also involved with Durham College’s alternative energy centre.
The intersection of energy and transportation will be important for the development of sustainable
communities. Through its work with municipal shareholders, DSEA members, the UOIT Energy Research
Centre and Automotive Centre of Excellence and Durham College, Veridian is playing a key role in
developing the sustainable communities of tomorrow—economically, environmentally, and socially.
What is unique

about this utility
The company has leveraged its utility expertise by partnering with current key industry players
to develop projects (such as “IntelliTEAM
”) that can be translated into national or international
opportunities in the future.
Veridian has started looking at non-traditional ways of raising capital (e.g., external funding or private
investment) to test innovative projects in the province.
Opportunities for
Veridian is reviewing what it needs to add and how it can access investments to fund some of its
innovative ideas with the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance, and is hoping to partner with private-sector
companies in the future.
With its DSEA partners, Veridian has recently submitted an Ontario Smart Grid Fund proposal. Electric
vehicle (EV) charging pilots may also allow Veridian to access some of the $80 million funding for EV
charging infrastructure.
Horizon Utilities Corporation

Although in the early stages of progress toward implementing the smart grid, Horizon Utilities Corporation is examining ways to
initiate their activities in this space. The utility serves the communities of Hamilton and St. Catharines, with 237,000 residential
electricity customers. Horizon is exploring a joint venture with McMaster University and Mohawk College with regard to electric
vehicles and charging stations.

Maintain pulse on innovation:
Encourage information
sharing relating to innovation and the smart grid, and ensure
Ontario is aware of best practices and innovations in Canada
and around the world.
Smart regulations
To guide the implementation of the smart grid in Ontario, in
February 2011 the OEB selected participants for their Smart
Grid Working Group (SGWG) to advise OEB staff on technical
aspects and other issues that affect policies and direction
offered by the OEB.
In November 2011 the SGWG released a discussion paper
which addressed the issue of innovation and adaptive
infrastructure. One of the OEB’s objectives is to encourage
economic growth and job creation in Ontario through the
adoption of the smart grid and its associated innovation.
The working group, recognizing that products had been
developed and businesses had grown from the introduction
of smart meters and time-of-use pricing, noted that economic
development was also likely to stem from implementation of
the smart grid. However, although some ideas about how a
regulatory path could facilitate economic development were
suggested, the SGWG is still working on how OEB policy could
directly achieve this goal.
But the SGWG was clear that with respect to adaptive
infrastructure (the “flexibility” and “forward compatibility”
elements of the minister’s directive), the OEB should support
open standards, particularly around software development. As
well, it recommended that technology innovation and adoption
be evaluated on the basis of their ability to ensure future
functionality and meet future requirements, and not just on the
basis of cost.
Regarding the directive to “encourage innovation” and
“maintain a pulse on innovation,” the SGWG concluded that
the best way to foster innovation in the sector was to build
a collaborative environment. It proposed a regular forum,
comprising SGWG members and diverse stakeholders, which
could exchange and debate ideas on the smart grid from both a
local and global standpoint.
Bringing Ontario’s power grid into the twenty-first century
will require the support of an array of stakeholders, including
regulators, policy-makers, utilities, consumers and technology
vendors. To achieve this, legislators and energy-sector
leaders need to develop policies that foster modernization.
Implementing an innovative system will be above all an issue of
change management, and Ontario’s regulators are in a prime
position to lay the groundwork.
In May 2009, the
Green Energy and Green Economy Act
was given royal assent, defining “smart grid” as “the advanced
information exchange systems and equipment that when
utilized together improve the flexibility, security, reliability,
efficiency and safety of the integrated power system and
distribution systems.”
In November 2010, the Minister of Energy issued a directive
to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to complement the GEA.
It provides a set of objectives to guide utilities and local
distribution companies (LDCs) in establishing their smart grid
plan and investments.
Read the Ministry of Energy’s directive to the OEB.
To learn more about the three areas of focus and 10 policy
objectives of this mandate, please visit

The directive outlines three areas of focus as well as 10
policy objectives to guide the OEB. The three focus areas
are customer control, power system flexibility and adaptive
infrastructure—and of these, the third is of greatest significance
to entrepreneurs, as it concerns accommodating the use of
innovative technology.

Appendix C of the directive sets out the goals of adaptive

Provide flexibility within smart grid
implementation to support future innovative applications,
such as electric vehicles and energy storage.

Forward compatibility:
Protect against technology lock-in to
minimize stranded assets and investments, and incorporate
principles of modularity, scalability and extensibility into
smart grid planning.

Encourage innovation:
Nest within smart grid infrastructure
planning and development the ability to adapt to and actively
encourage innovation in technologies, energy services and
investment/business models.
The role of the regulator
Wondering how energy distributors are regulated?
To learn about the OEB requirements for licensed
Ontario distributors and how projects are evaluated,
please see SGWG’s
Staff discussion paper: in regard to the
establishment, implementation and promotion of a smart
grid in Ontario
In Ontario, at the start of 2012, the consultative process is
ongoing, and issues associated with the implementation
of the smart grid will continue to be examined. As the
recommendations listed above indicate, innovation in this
regulated sector remains in the early stages.
Nevertheless, this situation is common even in more mature
and developed markets, such as in the US, where regulatory
issues rate as a top concern among utilities. As Bob Jenks
(Executive Director, Oregon Public Utility Commission) observes
in his article, “Why Smart Grid Advocates Should Learn About
Utility Regulation,” part of modernizing the electricity system
is developing an informed and realistic methodology to identify
what needs to be changed and how to achieve those changes—
and that understanding the complexities of current policy is
critical. He writes, “The smart grid has the potential to change
our electricity system in fundamental ways. But to effectively
create positive change, it’s necessary to understand the present
[electricity system].” He emphasizes that we have to learn to
build out of what we already have, recalling a tenet he followed
as a community organizer in college, “I start where the world is,
as it is, not as I would like it to be.”
A paradigm shift is needed to address some of the challenges.
Bloomberg Businessweek
, David J. Leeds (analyst, GTM
Research) points out the need to revise the compensation
scheme for utilities; currently, since their revenues are tied to
how much power is sold, it is in their interest to sell more power,
not less. New regulations could introduce new rate structures
and business models, giving utilities more reasons to drive
energy efficiency and earn revenue in ways other than the
direct sale of electricity.
(Read Leed’s full article, “
The smart
grid needs smart regulations
The broader context
In gauging Ontario’s approach and its progress in implementing
the smart grid, looking at a broader international context is
useful. The United Kingdom and Italy are two jurisdictions
that are breaking new ground to modernize their regulatory
framework. They were recently studied by Christine Müller
(WIK Wissenschaftliches Institut für Infrastruktur und
Kommunikationsdienste GmbH) for her submission to the
“Fourth Annual Conference on Competition and Regulation in
Network Industries,” held in November 2011.
In her report, “
Advancing regulation with respect to smart
,” Müller examines the UK’s new regulatory approach,
which takes a long-term view with respect to incentives. She
describes it as having shifted from “a regulatory focus on
cost efficiency to a holistic innovation and output-oriented
approach with a forward-looking, long-term value-for-
money perspective.” While lauding this initiative to stimulate
investment and dynamic efficiency, Müller warns that the
UK framework does set the stage for a “planning-intense
regulatory scheme and a high level of regulatory scrutiny.”
In contrast, Italy’s regulatory approach offers a less holistic
solution. There, the regulator has the power to increase the
rate of return for specific smart grid investments. However,
Müller cautions that this system may present difficulties in
terms of demarcation or the possibility that the regulator might
favour certain technologies over others.
Müller believes that the frameworks established both in the UK
and Italy are inspiring examples of more sensitive regulation,
and that other jurisdictions would do well to follow them to
create the shift in the regulatory paradigm needed to support
smart grids. She recommends that new policies entail a
gradual, thoughtful “smartening” of regulatory incentives, with
one such example being “a promotion of smart grid-related
demonstration projects backed by an innovation fund for which
network operators may apply.”
Notably, Ontario has already established such a practice with
Smart Grid Fund
. This program is investing $50 million in
the advancement of the smart grid, the creation of economic
development opportunities and the reduction of risk and
uncertainty in electricity-sector investments. At the federal
level, the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative launched in August
2011 will foster energy technologies that produce and use
energy in a cleaner and more efficient way. While not smart
grid-specific, this program will help advance technologies that
impact the smart grid.
Müller concludes her analysis of the UK and Italy case studies
with a general recommendation to other jurisdictions that
investment for electrical infrastructure and intelligence be
supported beyond the regulatory sphere. She proposes using
indirect incentives such as investment bonuses and R&D
allowances, designed to ensure that they do not overlap with
existing incentive mechanisms so that end-customers are not
paying twice to support the same investment.
Globally, China and the US, by prioritizing smart grid
development, are building an economic advantage over the
long term. To boost its competitiveness, Canada would do well
to adopt forward-thinking smart grid objectives in alignment
with those of Ontario and British Columbia. In November 2010,
Ontario issued its 20-year Long-Term Energy Plan, identifying
the smart grid’s value as “an essential element of Ontario’s
clean energy future.”
And British Columbia, recognizing that
innovation is the key to entering and building a competitive
advantage in the marketplace, has projects underway to build a
sustainable smart grid economy.
Two key elements stand out in this report with respect to the
implementation of smart grids. First, utilities need to explain and
validate their smart grid expenditures. And second, since each
utility is currently using a different definition of the smart grid
and relying on its own regulators to provide guidance, a common
definition of the smart grid would facilitate collaboration.
As the results of our interviews show, utilities tend to focus on
automating their local distribution company networks and their
communication technologies. Electric vehicle (EV) research and
its associated infrastructure is also a common point of interest,
with most utilities having at least one EV project proposed
or underway. Many of the utilities we interviewed expressed
an interest in participating in associations and forums to
exchange best practices. There is a compelling case for creating
a separate organization to oversee projects, especially those
undertaken in partnership with academia. As Müller notes, with
incentives to foster smart grid development, it is important to
ensure end-customers and taxpayers do not pay more than
once to support the same research.
We encourage regulators to continue to provide guidance to
utilities to maximize smart grid momentum and policy-makers
to strive for grid modernization. With this, Ontario will achieve
greater grid reliability to manage growing loads on the system,
and the province will benefit from the economic opportunities a
smart grid affords.
With burgeoning possibilities for innovation in this developing
market, regulators and policy-makers will need to respond
to new demands. Old regulatory frameworks might inhibit or
prevent the development or adoption of innovative products
or services and limit the scope of market development and,
consequently, benefits to customers. If new business models for
utilities can be implemented and new entrants allowed into the
marketplace, then the smart grid infrastructure will have room
to grow and prosper without the constraints of legacy barriers.
What advice would we offer to Ontario entrepreneurs who want
to succeed in the smart grid market? We have some tips:

Understand how the electricity sector works—this includes
regulation and policy.

Understand who your competitors are and what types of
solutions they offer.

Take advantage of funds and incentives offered provincially
and federally. Since utilities have to assess expenditures on
innovation, leveraging your funding money will make their job
(and yours) easier.

Remember that you will be dealing with a long-term sale
process—you may want to consider alternative business
models or revenue streams.

Understand the local and global challenges utilities face

(e.g., integrating renewable energy sources such as wind or
solar power).

Keep a global perspective.

General Electric Company. (2010, November 9). Top 10 countries for smart grid investment.
GE reports
. Retrieved December
14, 2011, from

Innovation Observatory. (n.d.). Ten countries will account for 80 of global smart grid investment by 2030 [Press release].
Retrieved December 14, 2011, from

Ontario Smart Grid Forum. (2011, May).
Modernizing Ontario’s Electricity System: Next Steps
. Retrieved January 16, 2012, from


Ontario Energy Board. (2011, March 3).
Monitoring Report Smart Meter Investment – September 2010
. Retrieved January 16,
2012, from

OEB Smart Grid Working Group. (2010, March 1). [Meeting summary].

Feblowitz, J. & Rowland, K. (2010, July/August). 2010 UtiliQ rankings.
Intelligent utility.
Retrieved December 14, 2011, from

Feblowitz, J. & Rowland, K., UtiliQ rankings.

International Energy Agency. (2011).
Technology roadmap: Smart grids
, p. 20.

Hydro Ottawa. (2011).
(Fall 2011) [newsletter]. Retrieved January 16, 2012 from

Ontario Ministry of Energy. (2011, April). Smart Grid Fund Guidelines. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from

Ontario Executive Council. (2010, November 23).
Minister’s directive to Ontario Energy Board
. Retrieved December 14, 2011,

Ontario Energy Board,
Staff discussion paper
, p. 12.

Ontario Energy Board,
Staff discussion paper
, pp. 22–23.

Jenks, B. (2011, October 20). “Why smart grid advocates should learn about utility regulation.” EnergyPulse. Retrieved
December 14, 2011 from

Leeds, D.J. (2009, October 5). “The smart grid needs smart regulations.”
Bloomberg Businessweek
. Retrieved December 14,
2011 from

Müller, Christine. (2011, November 25). Advancing regulation with respect to smart grids: pioneering examples from the United
Kingdom and Italy [Whitepaper]. Retrieved December 14, 2011, from

Müller, Christine. Advancing regulation with respect to smart grids.

Müller, Christine. Advancing regulation with respect to smart grids.

Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for BC. (2011, December 19). British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority
investigation report F11–03, p. 13. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from