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Supporting Ideas
what is the innovation space? WHAT IS THE INNOVATION SANDBOX? The 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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How does the OEB Innovation Sandbox work?

Much of the sandbox process, particularly in the early stages, is about information sharing between proponents and OEB staff.

  • No pre-set deadlines - innovators can come forward to the OEB at any time.
  • Innovators can ask questions without the requirement to file a written proposal. Questions can be submitted here.
  • Specific proposals that innovators are interested in testing require a written application.
  • Once a written proposal has been received, OEB staff will arrange a meeting to discuss the project and to ensure the proposal is well described and key features and objectives are well understood.
  • In some cases, additional information will be required before OEB staff can consider the proposal further.
  • OEB staff will review the proposal, evaluate whether the project meets the eligibility criteria, examine the regulatory requirements that may be at issue and consider what supports can best move the project forward.
  • Following OEB staff’s review, the OEB will determine what support it may offer, including potential temporary relief from a regulatory requirement and/or customized guidance from OEB staff.

Have an innovative idea?

Read our FAQ first!

Who is the OEB Innovation Sandbox for?

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The Sandbox is a way for innovators from within an existing utility business or from the broader energy technology and service sectors to bring forward ideas for projects that have the potential to deliver technological, service, and business model innovations.

In many cases, proponents from the broader energy sector will benefit from having a utility partner already on board at the time the proposal comes forward to the OEB. However, there is no requirement for entities to have a utility partner to bring forward a Sandbox proposal. If an innovator has tried and failed to secure a utility partner, the OEB may consider steps to support field-testing if a project demonstrates clear potential for improved consumer value.

The OEB is interested in supporting innovation and innovative projects through the provision of guidance, temporary relief and information sharing. At this stage, dedicated funding is not available to support initiatives that come through the Sandbox.

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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 idea, 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. Am I ready to test my innovation in a live environment?