A reliable source of electricity is essential to supporting community growth – powering homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and transportation. Planning for Ontario's future electricity needs happens at three levels.
Regional system planning ensures a reliable supply of electricity to regions. It considers conservation, generation, transmission and distribution, and innovative resources. It is the link between provincial and local planning.
Electrical boundaries define each region (e.g. GTA North), and the IESO works with the local distribution companies (LDCs) and the transmitter to ensure regional issues and requirements are effectively integrated into the electricity planning processes. It considers any overlapping bulk or distribution system planning, as well as any Municipal Energy Plans underway. For more information about the regional planning process established for Ontario in 2013, see
Regional Planning Process.
Provincial or bulk system planning identifies the provincial mix of energy resources and determines how electricity flows throughout the province.
Local distribution system planning delivers the conservation programs, services and infrastructure needed to power homes and businesses. It is operated by approximately 70 LDCs across the province.
Regional and Community Engagement
Through the development of the Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP), the IESO invites municipalities, community groups, stakeholders and the general public to provide input into the development of their region's electricity plan. The IRRP compares relevant resource options to meet local electricity needs, such as conservation and demand management, distributed generation, large-scale generation, transmission and distribution. The plan ranks options by feasibility, cost, reliability, environmental performance and societal acceptance.
The plans are developed by a Working Group consisting of the LDCs in the region, the local transmitter and the IESO. The regional planning process is governed by the Ontario Energy Board and is a continual process, evaluated every five years, with plans developed for a 20-year outlook.
Community Engagement Principles
The IESO's approach to community engagement is based on these key principles:
- Strengthening processes for early and sustained engagements with local governments and the public
- Providing local governments and communities with greater voice and responsibility
- Bringing communities to the table
- Linking local and provincial planning
- Reinforcing the link between planning and procurement
- Enhancing electricity awareness and improved access to information