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The Ontario Smart Grid Forum has been launched by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in collaboration with representatives from local distribution companies.

"The transformation taking place within the province's electricity sector, combined with advances in information technology, creates a unique opportunity for the development of a smart grid," says Paul Murphy, president and CEO of the IESO. "This forum builds on the provincial smart metering initiative to install smart meters in all homes and businesses by 2010 and complements the renewal taking place in Ontario's transmission and generation sectors."

The goal of a smart grid is to use advanced information-based technologies to increase grid efficiency, reliability and flexibility. It enables the better use of the existing delivery infrastructure and offers benefits for both the consumer and the environment. These benefits include improved system reliability, increased customer participation and environmental benefits.

An initial working group, made up of senior representatives from the IESO, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa, Burlington Hydro and Toronto Hydro, will help define the membership and terms of reference for the broader Smart Grid Forum. New members will be added over the coming weeks to ensure a broad cross-sector representation.

The full forum will hold its first meeting in May, with a final report expected by the end of the year, identifying benefits that will arise from smart grid investments and what needs to be done to enable implementation.

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