A picture of electricity consumption across Ontario

Consumption data collected by smart meters in Ontario has been used to support local distribution companies to bill customers through time-of-use rates. New uses for this data have started to emerge and can lend support for future opportunities and applications. In light of this, the Ontario Energy Board called on the IESO’s Smart Metering Entity (SME) to provide public access to highly aggregated smart meter read data to support research into how electricity is used in the province.

Using smart meter data to follow consumption trends across Ontario

The IESO uses SME aggregated smart meter data as an input for its own forecast models used to manage the power grid. Some of this data has also been used to show COVID-19 impacts on Ontario's electricity system as well as average home consumption patterns.

Using the Aggregated Hourly Smart Meter Data by Census Division from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020, here are some of the other emerging trends in home electricity use.

Residential consumption

Residential customers spent most of their time at home in April and May but some began to return to their regular routine in June as Ontario started to ease restrictions. Temperature also started to rise resulting in an increase of air conditioning use, which has a large effect on electricity consumption (average temperatures during this time were 4.4°C in April, 11.4°C in May, and 17.5°C in June). Around 24 per cent of the census divisions saw a decrease in residential electricity consumption in June.

A graph showing average residential data - 2020

Small commercial consumption

Small commercial customers saw an increase in consumption in over 90 per cent of census divisions in June over May due to the reopening of businesses and the higher temperatures.

A graph showing average small commercial consumption data in 2020

Requests for Smart Meter Data

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SME was also approached by several universities who requested aggregated data that can be used to analyze the impact of the pandemic and the subsequent emergency measures to the economy.

These and other data sets are now available to others upon request. 

  • Ontario Monthly Electricity Consumption Data segmented by Customer Type (Residential and Small General Service <50kW consumers) from January 2016 to December 2017.
  • Aggregated Hourly Smart Meter Data by Census Division from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020.

Please contact customer.relations@ieso.ca for more information.

Definitions

Residential Customer: Applies to a consumer account taking electricity at 750 volts or less where the electricity is used exclusively in a separate metered living accommodation (for domestic household and personal residency use).

Small General Service < 50 kWh: Applies to a non-residential account taking electricity at 750 volts or less whose average monthly maximum demand is less than, or is forecast to be less than 50 kW.

Census Division: Group of neighbouring municipalities joined together for the purposes of regional planning and managing common services (such as police or ambulance services). These groupings are established under laws in effect in certain provinces of Canada. For example, a census division might correspond to a county, une municipalité régionale de comet or a regional district. In other provinces and the territories where laws do not provide for such areas, Statistics Canada defines equivalent areas for statistical reporting purposes in cooperation with these provinces and territories.

The SME does not collect any personal information; all the consumption data is aggregated to allow for public disclosure protecting the privacy of Ontarians. The provincial repository of smart meter read data (MDM/R) is designed in conformance with the principles of Privacy by Design® and the protocols used for data aggregation comply with the guidelines set out by the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner ("IPC").