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Emergency Preparedness

An Emergency Plan

All market participants must prepare emergency plans that describe how they will respond to emergencies affecting the supply or delivery of electricity. While the IESO and all market participants strive to assure the reliability of the IESO-controlled grid at all times, there is also a need to be ready for emergency situations and to be able to respond to all threats and hazards whether natural or man-made.

Chapter 5, Section 11 of the Market Rules describes the planning requirements for emergency preparedness and system restoration.


What Needs to be Done

All market participants must submit to the IESO an Emergency Preparedness Plan that describes:

  • The emergency response activation process
  • The actions to be taken to mitigate the impact of extended outages on public health and safety
  • How participation in emergency drills and exercises test the implemented plan
  • The Internal and external communications processes
  • How the coordination of restoration and recovery actions are conducted outside of the company
  • Annual review: Restoration Participants must submit the Ontario Reliability Compliance Program Form 1608 annually as part of their annual review process.

IESO Assistance

The IESO helps coordinate market participants' Emergency Preparedness Plans. The stakeholder-represented Emergency Preparedness Task Force (EPTF), chaired by the IESO's Chief Operating Officer, has been active since 1998 to facilitate and oversee these efforts.

The Emergency Preparedness Task Force (EPTF) provides overall direction and oversight in co-ordinating Ontario's electricity emergency planning efforts. All market participants are welcome to participate in the EPTF, which includes representatives from government agencies. The Ontario Electricity Emergency Plan describes the framework for this collaboration across Ontario's electricity industry.

The EPTF works closely with the Ministry of Energy and Emergency Management Ontario to ensure that electricity industry emergency plans support Ontario's Provincial Emergency Plan. This includes:

  • Critical infrastructure protection initiatives such as physical and cyber security, and
  • Critical interdependencies with other industry sectors such as telecommunications, oil and natural gas.

The EPTF assigns stakeholder-represented working groups to carry out this work.


Emergency Response

Market participants should activate their emergency plans according to local circumstances. In the event of a large-scale electricity emergency such as occurred during the January 1998 ice-storm or the August 2003 blackout, the Ontario electricity industry's Crisis Management Support Team (CMST) will be activated.

  • The CMST provides a forum for key Ontario electricity industry representatives to provide early warnings of events that may affect the reliability of the electricity system. It also helps co-ordinate consequence management.
  • CMST representatives have sufficient management authority to provide strategic information and influence decision-making on behalf of their organizations.
  • The CMST shares information on the status of the situation, identifies issues, and provides guidance for response and recovery strategy, but takes no operational decision-making accountabilities away from participating companies.
  • During emergency incidents, the CMST is an essential source of information to the Ontario Government's Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
  • The Ontario Electricity Emergency Plan (OEEP) gives details on the CMST's structure and responsibilities.

The Ontario Power System Restoration Plan

The Ontario Power System Restoration Plan (OPSRP) details the technical requirements to expediently restore the IESO-controlled grid after a partial or complete blackout.

Owners or operators of ‘restoration-related breakers' as defined by the OPSRP, must submit a Restoration Plan Attachment that outlines how obligations will be met to support the OPSRP. Several documents and guides are available to help meet these obligations.


Power System Reliability Workshops

Since 2001, the IESO has conducted large-scale integrated emergency exercises to build on Ontario's emergency preparedness, and to help market participants meet their obligations to test their emergency plans. The IESO also offers power system restoration workshops. To enhance the IESO's emergency preparedness program after the August 2003 blackout, numerous power system restoration workshops across Ontario have been conducted.

For example, in 2013, approximately 315 system operators from 45 different companies, from all market participant classes, attended restoration workshops. The IESO, in discussion with major stakeholders, has scheduled six 2014 workshops.


Further Information

For further information please contact us at emergency.preparedness@ieso.ca.


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