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IESO response to COVID-19

April 2, 2020

As the province nears the end of three weeks of most Ontarians staying home, the provincial power system continues to operate reliably and safely. The IESO is closely monitoring demand, revising forecasts, and responding to changing system needs. While a detailed analysis will be available next week, here’s what is known so far. 

Early trends indicate a decrease in demand, in all hours, in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 megawatts, roughly 5 to 17 per cent of typical demand at this time of year

  • Demand has progressively decreased as actions are taken to respond to the outbreak, similar to what was seen in the early days in both New York and California. Ontario is expected to reach a steady state within a few weeks.
  • Overall energy consumption is approximately 7 to 9 per cent lower than similar days.

The IESO has been closely monitoring Ontario demand in order to respond to changing system needs. Compared to our similar day models, March 2020 demand has progressively decreased in tandem with local and international actions to respond to the outbreak.

Demand graphs

Surplus baseload generation (SBG) conditions are being managed

  • While spring is typically a period of low demand, the IESO is currently managing SBG through exports and curtailing variable generation. There is the potential for SBG conditions to increase, which would require increased actions to manage.

Generators and transmitters have deferred all non-critical outages

  • While demand continues to be low, it is important that generators are available to be called on as needed. By deferring outages, the IESO and its partners are collaboratively taking the precautions needed to maintain operations.

The IESO continues to operate its business with a heightened level of precaution

  • The vast majority of IESO employees are working from home. Only system operators and staff supporting them are working on site – where strict precautions are in place to protect health and safety.  

The IESO continues to actively assess the impact of COVID-19 as it works through the system and as the situation evolves. Check back for updates.


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