The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) regulates the rates of over 60 local electricity distributors, five electricity transmitters, three natural gas distributors that operate Ontario's local electricity and gas delivery networks. The OEB also sets the payment amounts of Ontario Power Generation’s regulated facilities. These regulated facilities produce approximately 50% of the electricity in the province. Utilities are also required to seek leave to construct from the OEB when constructing transmission lines longer that 2kms, transmission stations, and hydrocarbon lines and stations.
The OEB requires that an integrated approach to infrastructure planning be carried out. Under an integrated approach, all categories of network investments will be planned together, including investments for the renewal and expansion of networks and, where applicable, investments for the connection of renewable generation facilities, investments for smart grid development and implementation, and investments identified in the course of regional infrastructure planning exercises. An integrated approach to planning will provide a foundation for the setting of rates and lead to optimized investments that support the achievement of the outcomes identified by the OEB.
All transmitters and distributors are therefore required to file system investment planning information for five forecast years. The scope and level of detail required in the plan will depend on the scope and magnitude of the capital investments the plan is intended to support. Pacing and prioritization of capital investments to promote predictability in rates and affordability for customers must be a primary goal in a utilities’ capital plan.
Infrastructure planning on a regional basis is required to ensure that regional issues and requirements are effectively integrated into utility planning processes, which will, in turn, help promote the cost-effective development of infrastructure in the province. Utilities are therefore expected to file evidence in rate and leave to construct proceedings that demonstrates that regional issues have been appropriately considered and, where applicable, addressed in developing the utility's capital budget or infrastructure investment proposal.
Under the OEB's integrated approach to planning, grid-enhancing advanced information and exchange systems and equipment (which are commonly referred to as smart grid and can include home energy management, grid automation, energy storage, microgrids, cyber security and electric vehicle integration) are considered integral to all utility investment. Under this approach, no distinction is made for regulatory purposes between "smart grid" and more traditional investments undertaken by utilities.
This invitation will establish a VOR arrangement for the provision of the review of asset management and investment planning practices and the review and assessment of System Plans, and associated technical advisory services as may be required from time to time. This includes conducting reviews of applications filed with the OEB and providing associated reports to the OEB.
Purpose and Scope
To assist OEB staff in reviewing an applicant’s System Plan and offer engineering, asset management, and investment planning analysis based on the vendor’s professional experience.
Full details are provided in the RFP document which is available only through MERX at www.merx.com or 1-800-964-6379, MERX reference number 0000086315.