Hydro One distributes electricity to 1.4 million customers over a massive 961,000 km² service territory. This means Hydro One serves just over two customers per square-kilometer served. Some of these areas include heavily forested terrain, significant off-road areas and no tie capability, leading to a lack of redundancy in certain parts of the system. 

While Hydro One is installing equipment to better pinpoint the location of outages and to decrease response time, some customers in remote locations still experience a disproportionate number of outages.

Until now, there have been very few ways to level this disparity. Recently innovations in home battery energy storage have made new solutions possible to improve reliability for outlier customers. In August, Hydro One received regulatory guidance, as part of the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) Innovation Sandbox, to engage in a pilot project to remediate outage disparities for outlier customers through behind the meter home batteries for energy storage.

Hydro One has reached out to more than 1,800 outlier customers to find 100 customers interested in participating in the pilot. Participants will have two battery energy storage installed into their homes.  These batteries will provide approximately 10-12 hours of energy, resulting in an outage duration decrease of approximately 30-60 per cent.

Hydro One will document the efficacy of the pilot. Key indicators will include reliability improvement, cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction. Hydro One will then determine how to approach an expanded continuation of the project for customers experiencing excessive outages.

Read the full article in this spring’s issue of The Distributor magazine, Striking the Right Balance.