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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 OEB Innovation Sandbox is open to both natural gas and electricity utilities as well as the broader energy technology and service sectors.
At any time, innovators may reach out to staff for an informal discussion about energy regulation and how it may apply to innovative products, services or business models, or with ideas about a specific pilot project. Innovators can discuss questions with OEB staff without the requirement to file any written material.
For innovators who request a meeting with OEB staff, a meeting will be held within 20 days of that request.Request a meeting or submit a question
For specific pilot projects, proponents will need to provide written information about the project. The more complete the information provided to OEB staff, the more efficient and timely the process.
In some cases, proponents may be interested in seeking temporary relief from an OEB requirement that is a barrier to an innovative pilot project. In that case, OEB staff is available to help the proponent in pursuit of temporary relief.Request a meeting
Innovators seeking project-specific support must ensure their project meets the following eligibility criteria:
One of the objectives of the OEB Innovation Sandbox is to share innovative ideas and lessons learned with the energy sector. The approach to information sharing in the OEB Innovation Sandbox seeks to strike a balance between the need for transparency and the need to ensure that the OEB Innovation Sandbox is a "safe space" for innovators that facilitates open and frank conversations. As such, the approach to information sharing differs between the two types of OEB Innovation Sandbox support (Information Service and Project-specific Support).
For innovators that seek Information Service support, engagements with OEB staff will remain confidential. OEB staff will not disclose information received except as may be required under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or otherwise by law.
Where a proponent begins with the Information Service, and later decides to seek Project-specific Support, please see the section below on Project-specific Support. Transparency and information sharing requirements associated with Project-specific Support only begin once a proponent has decided to seek that type of support and submits a written proposal.
The OEB Innovation Sandbox may share information on projects that receive Project-specific Support in one or more of the following ways:
OEB Innovation Sandbox Dashboard
All projects for which Project-specific Support is requested will be recorded on the OEB’s Innovation Sandbox dashboard, which shows the following anonymized information:
- Description of the proponent (e.g., electricity distributor). The OEB Innovation Sandbox will not share the name of the proponent without the proponent’s consent.
- Summary of innovative project: The OEB Innovation Sandbox project template Requires proponents to provide a project summary. The OEB will draw information from the project proposal to populate the dashboard. The OEB will not post the project proposal form itself.
- The key theme or topic at issue (e.g., net metering).
- Sandbox support requested. This may include a request for customized OEB staff guidance or staff’s assistance in requesting temporary relief from a regulatory requirement.
- Sandbox support provided.
Where guidance provided through the OEB Innovation Sandbox relates to a matter that is of broader interest to regulated entities or other stakeholders – such as guidance relating to the meaning or application of a regulatory requirement – that guidance may be shared more broadly through a staff Bulletin. The name of the proponent will not be shared.
Annual Reports and other Reporting
The OEB Innovation Sandbox has updated its approach to annual reporting. Annual reports will now include references to specific innovative pilot projects. The information shared in annual reports will be similar in nature to the anonymized information shared on the dashboard.
The OEB is aware that proponents may wish to keep some commercially sensitive information confidential. Proponents are expected to identify commercially sensitive information in the project template. The OEB will not share any information that is commercially sensitive.