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Conservation and Demand Management

Archived Backgrounder

Conservation and Demand Management

As the province plans for Ontario's electricity needs for the next 20 years, conservation will be the first resource considered. It is the cleanest and most cost-effective energy resource, and it offers consumers a way to reduce their electricity bills.

Putting Conservation First

Conservation and demand management are Ontario's preference to building new generation and transmission facilities, wherever it is cost-effective.

Conserving or shifting electricity use avoids the need for new generation and transmission, improves efficiency and reduces strain on the electricity system. Saving energy means saving money. For every dollar invested in energy efficiency, Ontario has avoided about $2 in costs to the electricity system.

Conservation is also the easiest way for consumers to manage their electricity bills. People across the province are increasingly focused on conservation and energy efficiency. From 2005 to the end of 2013, it is projected that Ontarians will have conserved 8.6 terawatt hours of electricity -- enough to power for one year a city the size of Hamilton and Kitchener combined.

Key Initiatives

Putting conservation first will require a co-ordinated approach between the government, its energy agencies and electricity and natural gas utilities. By working together, new conservation initiatives will be introduced and the capability of Demand Response - a reduction of energy use to ease the load on the system - will increase.

Key initiatives include:

  • Working with energy agencies to ensure conservation is considered first in their planning, approval and procurement processes. The province will also work with the Ontario Energy Board to incorporate the policy of conservation first into distributor planning processes for both electricity and natural gas utilities.
  • Providing information and incentives to help consumers choose the most efficient products for their homes and businesses. Ontario will also continue to show leadership in setting energy efficiency standards for products and appliances.
  • Making new financing tools, including on-bill financing for energy efficiency retrofits, starting in 2015.
  • Enhancing the role of local distribution companies in the delivery of Aboriginal conservation programs, particularly for on-reserve First Nation customers.
  • Giving consumers online access to their electricity data through the Green Button Initiative. Consumers will be able to connect their data to mobile and web-based applications that will help them analyze and better manage their electricity use.
  • Piloting a social benchmarking program that helps consumers compare their energy consumption with similar consumers. Social benchmarking increases awareness of energy use and promotes conservation. 
  • Working with Ontario EcoSchools, an environmental education and certification program for grades K-12, to bring more resources about energy conservation into classrooms.

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