Conservation First Framework

A new Interim Framework is taking the place of the Conservation First Framework, which was discontinued effective March 21, 2019 by ministerial directive. The new framework for provincially delivered energy-efficiency programs, also by ministerial directive, began April 1. Program documents related to the new framework are available on the Interim Framework page.

The 2015-2020 conservation framework maps out Ontario’s energy conservation goals over the next six years, emphasizing a coordinated effort within all stages of energy planning, as well as more effective teamwork among sector partners, particularly with local distribution companies (LDCs) and large customers. The goal is to achieve a total reduction of 8.7 TWh in electricity consumption in Ontario by December 31, 2020 through conservation programs delivered to residential and business customers across the province:

  • 1.3 TWh to be achieved through conservation projects undertaken by transmission-connected customers under the Industrial Accelerator Program delivered by the IESO;
  • 7 TWh from conservation programs delivered by LDCs under the Conservation First Framework; and,
  • 0.4 TWh from conservation programs delivered by the IESO under the Conservation First Framework.

 These CFF targets were revised by Ministerial Directive dated February 8, 2018. 

Flexibility for Distributors and Customer Choice

The framework gives a much larger role to LDCs in Ontario, with each being assigned a share of the 7 TWh target that they can pursue individually or in partnership with other LDCs.

The IESO is providing tools, support and guidance to LDCs to help them meet their targets through the development of a six-year Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) Plan. The CDM plan allows LDCs to design and manage their own program offerings, giving them greater flexibility to align conservation programs to local needs, and provide more customer choice. It will also ensure long-term, stable funding to give LDCs certainty to implement and deliver programs in their CDM plans. In addition, the administrative now means the IESO has sole approval over LDC CDM plans and program offerings, ensuring oversight while still streamlining processes.

Achievable Potential Study

The Achievable Potential Study provides an estimate of the short-term electricity conservation potential that is achievable within the time frame of the CFF as well over a 20-year horizon for the province and each LDC.

Note: The Achievable Potential Study and associated reports, originally released on June 30, 2016, were reposted on December 20, 2016 to incorporate corrections to a small number of non-material errors.  

Collaboration and Partnerships

Collaboration, to maximize efficiencies and reduce costs, is a key focus in the CFF. The IESO is working closely with LDCs, who are also encouraged to partner with other LDCs to meet energy reduction targets and achieve efficiencies in program delivery. Examples of how collaboration is encouraged include:

  • A simplified approval process for joint CDM plans including two or more LDCs;
  • The provision of a specialized template and materials to help LDCs adopt a regional approach to resourcing;
  • Partnerships, where appropriate, with natural gas distributors, to collaborate in areas such as marketing and customer engagement where there are shared customers or program goals;
  • Additional financial support through the IESO, above and beyond CDM Plan budgets, for groups of LDCs to partner within their respective regions, or where there are shared opportunities and challenges.

Innovative Program Design Elements

The Framework promotes innovation and adoption of new technologies through the LDC Innovation Fund. The Fund provides additional support for LDC-led program design and market testing of small-scale pilot programs, which refines program delivery at a lower risk to the ratepayer.

The IESO takes into account non-energy benefits in the assessment of the total costs and benefits of proposed conservation programs. These include environmental, economic and social benefits, like increased comfort, reductions in carbon emissions, better air or water quality, and other broader societal impacts.

Transmission-Connected Customer Targets

Customers directly connected to the transmission grid can access the Industrial Accelerator Program, which offers financial incentives to industrial, commercial and institutional customers directly connected to the electricity grid. Incentives encourage the implementation of major energy conservation projects, such as process changes and equipment retrofits.

Resources and Reports

An Examination of the Opportunity for Residential Heat Pumps in Ontario

This report examines the opportunities, barriers and next steps for greater market adoption of energy efficient residential heat pumps in Ontario. It also explores the benefits of heat pump technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan.

Find more on CFF