As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt across Canada, social distancing and the shutdown of many businesses has resulted in a significant decrease in energy demand. As such, system operators are taking the coronavirus into account while planning future energy strategies.
Specifically, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the crown corporation that oversees the bulk electrical system in Ontario, has announced that the June 2020 Capacity Auction, relating to next year’s Demand Response, obligation period has been postponed.
The decision to postpone the auction comes as the IESO remodels forecasts due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and taking into account capacity demand changes. As of writing, the IESO has announced a tentative plan to hold the 2020 auction sometime in Q4 instead. The IESO has also decided to halt all work on auction enhancements, which it had been planning, opting to wait and reassess whether these proposed auction changes will benefit ratepayers and system stability. In short, by delaying the 2021 commitment period auction, the IESO is providing potential participants with more time to get ready for the auction, as well as gauge support going forward. While the timing of the auction has changed, the length of the obligation period ( May 2021 - April 2022) has not.
The IESO has explained that it is aware of the fact that many customers are facing an uncertain fiscal year, and that stakeholders will be facing challenges that prevent them from participating effectively in the planned 2021 auction. During these difficult times, the IESO has reaffirmed its commitment to work with stakeholders to incorporate customer feedback into IESO’s decisions and future capacity planning initiatives. “We appreciate your support and we will continue to work together to support all Ontarian's during this challenging and unprecedented time,” stated IESO president and CEO, Peter Gregg.