On March 31, 2014, the Minister of Energy directed the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to develop a new framework for natural gas demand side management (DSM). On December 22, 2014, the OEB issued its Report on DSM (the DSM Framework) and the DSM Filing Guidelines where it indicated that the OEB will be taking on a larger role in the evaluation process of natural gas DSM program results. The DSM Filing Guidelines provide details regarding program evaluation deliverables and additional evaluation tasks contemplated over the course of the 2015 to 2020 DSM term.
On August 21, 2015, the OEB issued a letter establishing the process to evaluate the results of natural gas DSM programs from 2015 to 2020 with the assistance of an Evaluation Contractor (EC). Within its letter, the OEB outlined its DSM evaluation governance structure and established an Evaluation Advisory Committee (EAC) to act as an evaluation and technical expert advisory group to both the OEB and the EC. The EAC consists of representatives from the natural gas utilities, industry expert non-utility stakeholders, staff from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), and observers from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario and Ministry of Energy.
On January 20, 2016, the OEB issued its Decision and Order related to Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. (Enbridge) and Union Gas Limited’s (Union) respective 2015-2020 DSM Plans. The approved annual budgets for the two utilities to implement natural gas DSM programs for residential (including low-income), commercial, and industrial and large volume customers are outlined in the table below:
In order to evaluate Enbridge and Union’s performance relative to its OEB-approved targets, the OEB will be undertaking a series of evaluations of the gas utilities’ 2016 to 2020 DSM activities. The objective of these evaluations will be to ensure that the final savings figures are calculated in a manner that results in the best estimate of the impacts of these programs. Due to the growing nature of the utilities’ DSM budgets which are funded through distribution rates, and the increased focus and impact of efficiency programs on larger energy policy matters, the OEB needs to ensure that the gas utilities’ DSM results are tested by expert independent evaluators to confirm the accuracy and validity of the results.
The OEB is seeking proposals to complete a verification of gross savings and net-to-gross evaluation of Enbridge and Union’s respective 2016 C&I prescriptive programs. The prescriptive measure verification results will be used to calculate final net savings using the equation below. The study will produce realization rates based on installation rates of the priority measures (those which contribute most to the utilities’ prescriptive savings estimates, approximately 5 measures for each utility) that are evaluated. These realization rates will apply to the 2016 C&I prescriptive program results. Net-to-gross ratios will also be developed.
Full details are provided in the RFP document which is available only through MERX at www.merx.com or 1-800-964-6379, MERX reference number 0000065020.