Imports and Exports

Ontario’s grid is connected to electricity systems in neighbouring provinces and states, allowing the province to be both an importer and exporter of electricity. Being a part of a larger North American network is an advantage for electricity customers in Ontario – it helps maintain the affordability, reliability and sustainability of Ontario’s electricity system. 

The Value of Imports and Exports

Having an electricity grid that is connected to the larger North American network provides Ontario with access to a number of neighbouring electricity systems, which enhances operational planning flexibility. These intertie connections help:

  • Maintain reliability: If there is an unexpected shortfall due to equipment malfunctions or extreme weather conditions, Ontario can draw on neighbouring electricity generators to supply its energy needs and maintain the stability of its grid.
  • Drive cost-effectiveness: When electricity is imported or exported, it is being bought or sold. The cost of electricity generated in neighbouring systems is sometimes lower than the cost of electricity generated in Ontario. Being able to import lower-cost electricity helps keep energy bills down for everyone in Ontario.
  • Make use of surplus electricity generation: At times, Ontario produces more electricity than it needs. This happens most often at night and on weekends when demand for electricity is low, but power plants are still operating. The ability to export to neighbouring grids allows the province to sell surplus electricity that would otherwise be wasted.
Map depicting Ontario’s grid connections with neighbouring jurisdictions. In Northwest Ontario, we are connected to Manitoba and Minnesota. In Southwest Ontario, we are connected to Michigan. In Northeast and East Ontario, we are connected to Quebec. In Southeast Ontario, we are connected to New York.

Staying Within Our Limits

Ontario maintains grid connections with Manitoba, Quebec, Minnesota, Michigan and New York, actively importing and exporting electricity on a daily basis. The amount of energy intertie transmission lines can transport at one time is limited.

The IESO’s system operators are constantly balancing these limits with Ontario’s energy needs, ensuring we import and export electricity as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

Imports and Exports | Power Data

Ontario imports and exports electricity efficiently, as part of the regular operations of the provincial wholesale electricity market.