Generating ideas: Ontario Energy Board seeks innovation with redesign of its Sandbox

To support the generation and adoption of new ideas and technologies within Ontario’s energy sector, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) unveiled its Innovation Sandbox 2.0 today.

The first of its kind in Canada’s energy sector, the Innovation Sandbox has, since 2019, allowed the OEB to engage with and support innovators who want to test new ideas, products, services and/or business models that can benefit and bring greater value to Ontario’s electricity and natural gas consumers. Utilities and other companies in the sector leverage the Innovation Sandbox to access customized regulatory guidance and/or seek assistance in requesting temporary relief from a regulatory requirement to enable pilot projects.

Specifically, the Innovation Sandbox helped facilitate the AlectraDrive @Home electric vehicle (EV) charging pilot project, which seeks to better understand and evaluate EV charging behaviour and its future impact on the grid. 

In response to a heightened interest to drive further innovation throughout the sector, the OEB consulted with industry representatives and consumer groups to identify enhancements that would address their various needs moving forward. The resulting enhancements that make up Innovation Sandbox 2.0 will be phased in over time. This approach will improve clarity and transparency, while providing opportunities for additional dialogue between stakeholders, as it relates to refinement.

Highlighted features of Innovation Sandbox 2.0 include:

  • An updated website, including a new “as it happens” dashboard that will provide information on pilot projects seeking Sandbox support
  • Updated criteria for the types of projects that will be the focus of Sandbox support 
  • Identifying opportunities that can facilitate innovation for the sector and glean lessons learned along the way 
  • Augmented annual reporting and increased outreach to industry.

"The OEB has a critical role to play in supporting the evolution of Ontario’s energy sector. With a focus on achieving that goal, we have overhauled our Innovation Sandbox to facilitate the adoption of emerging technologies for the benefits of consumers, industry and the grid." 
– Susanna Zagar, CEO.

Additional Information and Resources

About the Ontario Energy Board

The OEB is the independent regulator of Ontario’s electricity and natural gas sectors. It protects the interests of consumers and supports the collective advancement of the people of Ontario. Its goal is to deliver public value through prudent regulation and independent adjudicative decision-making which contributes to Ontario’s economic, social and environmental development.

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