The way consumers use energy is evolving rapidly, and the sector needs to be able to support that. The OEB Innovation Sandbox is designed to help advance innovative projects related to electricity or natural gas service, whether they offer long-term efficiencies, cost savings, customer service improvements or provide consumer value in other ways.
Proponents – whether they’re a regulated utility or an unregulated private business – can come forward to the OEB at any time with questions, an idea or a proposal.
Those with specific proposals that meet the eligibility criteria of the OEB Innovation Sandbox may receive guidance from OEB staff and, if needed and within the OEB’s authority, temporary relief from a regulatory requirement. At this stage, dedicated funding is not available for initiatives that come through the OEB Innovation Sandbox.
The OEB’s goal is to reduce uncertainty associated with regulatory requirements and provide more specific supports to help innovative projects move forward. With the OEB Innovation Sandbox, proponents will have an opportunity to work with OEB staff to determine whether particular regulatory requirements are an obstacle to innovation, and find ways of proceeding with projects on a trial basis.
The OEB believes that there is potential for more innovation in the energy sector. Taking a page from playbooks of other regulators – including energy regulators in the United Kingdom and Singapore, who have rolled out their own sandboxes – the OEB has developed its Innovation Sandbox as a useful way to support innovative ideas that are likely to provide better value for customers.
The OEB Innovation Sandbox is one of the ways the OEB is delivering on the goals of the 2017 Strategic Blueprint. It is also in line with a recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Innovation to provide a way for utilities and unregulated companies to discuss regulatory issues with the OEB.