February 5, 2024
More than 100,000 Ontario residents have enrolled in the Save on Energy Peak Perks program, a residential demand response initiative of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) that helps ensure the reliability of the electricity grid by reducing peak demand on hot summer days.
Participants in Peak Perks help the grid with their smart thermostats by participating in brief, time-limited thermostat adjustments of up to two degrees Celsius during periods of peak electricity demand between June 1 and September 30 on weekday afternoons or in early evenings.
Participants receive a $75 virtual prepaid MasterCard® when they enroll in Peak Perks. They also receive a $20 virtual prepaid MasterCard® each additional year they stay enrolled in the program.
“We are so pleased that Ontario residents are taking an active role in energy efficiency through Peak Perks,” says Tam Wagner, Director of Demand Side Management at the IESO. “Demand side management is a critical resource that can make a significant contribution to the reliability of the province’s electricity grid, especially on hot summer days when air conditioning use is at its highest.”
“Peak Perks is now the largest demand response program in Canada, and the fastest growing in North America,” says the Hon. Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “More than 100,000 households are now reducing their electricity usage and saving money on their bills – all part of our government’s plan to keep costs down for families.”
“Enrolling more than 100,000 homes in the first six months of the Peak Perks program is testament to the scale that’s possible when electricity providers and customers partner on initiatives that provide mutual benefit,” says Erika Diamond, Senior Vice President of Customer Solutions at EnergyHub, the IESO’s service provider for the Peak Perks program. “The IESO is well on its way to building Canada’s largest residential virtual power plant, which will play a key role in keeping the grid reliable and accelerating decarbonization.”
During summer 2023, Peak Perks was activated on six occasions, with the final event in early September achieving a maximum one-hour peak demand reduction of 54 megawatts (MW). With more than 100,000 Ontario residents now enrolled, current participants in the program can deliver a demand reduction of up to 90 MW, which is equivalent to taking a city the size of Kingston off the grid at summer peak. This number is expected to grow as more devices are enrolled.
Residential electricity customers in Ontario with central air conditioning or a heat pump controlled by a smart thermostat are eligible to take part in Peak Perks. Customers that have yet to enroll are still eligible for a $75 virtual prepaid MasterCard® in 2024 and can visit the Save on Energy website to get started.