Electricity is clearly going to fuel a great deal more of our economy and day-to-day lifestyles moving forward. This makes good economic sense – as those who have calculated the long-term payback on an electric car know – and is essential to achieving our climate change objectives.
Local distribution companies (LDCs) are both electricity suppliers of this more important-than-ever commodity, and they have expertise and relationships that will be crucial to broadening its use. Local utility companies in Ontario are trusted by customers and have detailed insights into complex supply and demand conditions; they own the infrastructure via which growing electricity demand will be met; and they are natural partners to the municipalities who are often driving electrification in contexts such as transportation.
It’s a good position to be in. But for LDCs to fully seize this opportunity – and for them to effectively manage the daunting challenges associated with large-scale electrification – regulatory frameworks urgently need to be better aligned with current realities and fast-emerging needs.
That realization is the motivation behind the first in what is likely to be a series of EDA position papers on various aspects of electrification. Released at the end of 2020, Charging Ahead outlines the role that LDCs can play in electrifying transportation, and some of the barriers they currently face as they work to maximize the benefits for Ontarians.
As the paper states, “Incorporating electrified transportation infrastructure should be viewed with the same [regulatory] lens as poles, wires and transformers,” and it stakes out three broad positions aimed at shifting the existing lens in that direction: enable and encourage, rate base investments, and a public fast-charging rate class.
Charging Ahead was produced with the engagement of the EDA’s Conservation and Sustainability Issues Council and its Electric Vehicle Sub-Committee in order to provide guidance on Ontario electricity distributor preferred policy and regulatory direction.
Read the full article in this spring’s issue of The Distributor magazine, Striking the Right Balance.