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Supporting Ideas
what is the innovation space? WHAT IS THE INNOVATION SANDBOX? The OEB Innovation Sandbox is a streamlined, accessible way for the OEB to support innovators to test new ideas, products, services, and business models in the electricity and natural gas sectors.

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why do we need one? WHY A SANDBOX? The core idea of the OEB Innovation Sandbox is the recognition that innovation can benefit from more specific supports to facilitate deployment of projects on a trial basis.

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how will it bring innovation? HOW WILL IT ENABLE INNOVATION? The OEB Innovation Sandbox provides opportunities for innovators to exchange information and feedback informally with OEB staff.

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IESO/OEB Joint GIF/OEB Innovation Sandbox Targeted Call

On June 22, 2021 the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the OEB announced a partnership between the IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund (GIF) and the OEB Innovation Sandbox. The partnership will leverage GIF financial support with the expertise and support of the OEB Innovation Sandbox in a Joint GIF/Sandbox Targeted Call for 2021/2022. The Joint Call will focus on pilot projects seeking to test how to derive value from Distributed Energy Resources.

How does the OEB Innovation Sandbox work?

Much of the OEB Innovation Sandbox process, particularly in the early stages, is about information-sharing between proponents and OEB staff. Features of the process:

  • The first step in the OEB Innovation Sandbox process is to schedule an initial meeting, which will be held within 20 days of a proponent reaching out and requesting a meeting.
  • Information Service: Innovators can discuss questions with OEB staff without the requirement to file a written proposal. Questions can be submitted here.
  • Pilot Project: If there is a specific innovative pilot project of interest, proponents will be required to provide written materials. The OEB has provided a template for written proposals that proponents may use, although proponents may submit materials in another format of their choosing. Once a proposal is submitted, OEB staff may schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss outstanding questions, and may request additional information from the proponent. Once all the required information has been provided by the proponent, OEB staff will review the proposal, evaluate whether the project meets the eligibility criteria, discuss regulatory requirements that may be at issue and consider what supports can best move eligible projects forward.
  • The process is intended to be collaborative and iterative. OEB staff will work with proponents to obtain additional information, where needed, and to determine what type of support is required.
  • No pre-set deadlines – innovators can come forward to the OEB Innovation Sandbox at any time.
    • The exception to this is for projects being submitted to the IESO for the IESO/OEB Joint GIF/OEB Innovation Sandbox Targeted Call.

Have an innovative idea?

Read our FAQ first!

Who is the OEB Innovation Sandbox for?

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The OEB Innovation Sandbox is a way for innovators to bring forward ideas for projects that have the potential to bring about innovation in the delivery of natural gas or electricity services and their associated business models.

The OEB Innovation Sandbox is open to both natural gas or electricity utilities or the broader energy technology and service sectors. In most cases, proponents from the broader energy sector will benefit from having a utility partner on board to carry out an innovative pilot. However, there is no requirement for companies to have a utility partner to discuss an innovative idea or bring forward a proposal. If an innovator has tried and failed to secure a utility partner, OEB staff may consider steps to support field-testing if a project demonstrates clear potential for improved consumer value.

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What things should I consider?

  1. Do I have a project in mind that involves testing a new product, service or business model that is not widely in use in Ontario?
  2. Is my project related to natural gas or electricity services in Ontario?
  3. Is the product, service or business model I am interested in pursuing likely to provide real benefits to consumers?
  1. What type of benefits to consumers do I expect my innovation to deliver?
  2. Is there a regulatory barrier preventing the implementation of my innovative idea, or is it unclear whether the project is permitted under the existing regulatory framework?
  3. If I want to propose a pilot project, am I ready to test my innovation in a live environment?