Demand Response Pilot

Demand response (DR) − that is when consumers reduce their electricity consumption in response to prices and system needs - is playing an increasing role in Ontario's electricity system. DR has already had a significant impact on energy demand and helped reduce peaks, providing a valuable and cost-effective resource to the system.

Prior to the launch of the IESO’s demand response auction in 2015, the IESO began exploring the potential for demand respond to provide further benefits to the system. Through a competitive procurement, the IESO secured up 70 megawatts (MW) of DR from three companies representing 10 projects ranging from 1 MW to 35 MW, each with unique technical characteristics, requirements and constraints. The pilot projects are being used to assess their ability to follow changes in electricity consumption and to help balance supply and demand.

The IESO demand response pilot is aimed at better understanding the capabilities of DR to provide service currently provided by generators and other suppliers:

Hourly load following: responding to hour-ahead market prices and adjusting power consumption on an hourly basis as Ontario's demand for electricity fluctuates throughout the day

Unit commitment: committing to load curtailment day-ahead or four-hours ahead of real time in return for certain guarantees

The selected pilot resources are required to vary their consumption in response to IESO dispatch instructions for at least 100 hours per contract year.

The IESO has finalized contracts for the following projects:



Contracted DR capacity (MW)

Scheduling Type

Commitment Type

Location (Trans-
mission Zone)

Tembec Industries

(Wholesale consumer)

Kapuskasing Thermo-Mechanical Pulping



Unit commitment


EnerShift Corporation

(DR aggregator)

8 projects

32.75 in total (each project has an individual DR capacity ranging from 1 MW to 15 MW)

8 projects

Unit commitment: 7 projects

No unit commitment:
1 project

Various (Toronto, Southwest, Niagara, East, Northeast, West)

HCE Energy Inc.

(DR direct participant)

 HCE Energy Centre and Central Utilities Plant






 No unit commitment




Documents referenced on this page, but not posted, can be obtained by contacting with a link to the web page that lists the document and advise whether it needs to be provided in an accessible format. Please allow a minimum of one business day for a response.

Related Information

IESO Electrical Zones – Map Tool

IESO Demand Response Pilot Program: Program Details