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Shift your power use: ICI expands to add big users

The Ontario government has expanded the Industrial Conservation Initiative to add 700 companies.


Industry can help lower peak demand. PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

The Ontario government announced that as of Jan. 1 it would eliminate the 8% provincial portion of HST from hydro bills in an effort to reduce skyrocketing costs that are handcuffing households.

The provincial government estimates this will save households about $130 a year. It has also cancelled green energy plans that will keep $2.45 a month from being added to bills, scrapped the debt retirement charge, and has deferred construction of two nuclear reactors at the Darlington nuclear generation station (eliminating $15 billion in construction costs).

But businesses, including manufacturers, are still grappling with almost unmanageable costs to power their facilities.

Electricity costs will also become an important factor for companies looking to establish operations in Ontario, hampering the province’s ability to attract new investment.

To address business needs, the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) has been expanded to welcome up to 700 additional companies. The program, which started in 2011 and currently has 300 participants, offers an incentive to large electricity consumers to shift their electricity consumption to off-peak hours and reduce bills by up to 33%.

The Wynne government says by reducing the electricity system’s peak demand, ICI defers the need to build additional peaking generation. Currently, eligible ICI participants include consumers with monthly peak demand exceeding three megawatts. These consumers are charged a “Global Adjustment” fee based on their share of total system demand during the highest five peak hours of the year.

For example, a plastics manufacturer with an average peak demand of two megawatts that participates in ICI would see its electricity price reduced from $154 per megawatt-hour to as low as $102 per megawatt hour. That would result in a monthly saving of $42,000.

The 300 participants currently in the program reduced the province’s peak demand by 1,000 megawatts in 2015.

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