Evolution of Regional Planning
Regional planning is not a new concept in Ontario. The former Ontario Hydro conducted regional supply planning for the province up until the restructuring of the electricity industry in 2000. Following its restructuring, regional planning was conducted on an "as needed" basis by transmitters.
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) began planning activities in 2005 to address electricity supply adequacy and reliability needs. Through engagement with distributors, transmitters, the IESO and other stakeholders, the OPA developed the Supply Mix Advice, and the Integrated Power System Plan (which outlined plans within a number of regional areas).
In the ensuing years, the OPA initiated a number of integrated regional plans in areas of the province where needs were identified. These plans were conducted on a voluntary basis with technical working groups consisting of the OPA, the local LDCs, the transmitter and the IESO.
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) released a report in 2012 entitled Renewed Regulatory Framework for Electricity: A Performance-Based Approach (RRFE), which included direction to develop a more formalized process for regional planning. To achieve this, the OEB convened a Planning Process Working Group (PPWG) to develop a structured and transparent regional planning process.
The PPWG released its Working Group Report to the Board, detailing the new regional planning process in May 2013. The OEB endorsed the Working Group Report and formalized the process timelines through changes to the Transmission System Code and Distribution System Code in August 2013, as well as through changes to the OPA's Licence in October 2013.
Going forward, a new Regional Planning Process Advisory Group (RPPAG) has been established to review and evaluate the regional planning process and to make necessary modifications to the process.