Toronto Hydro Electronic Business Transaction Hub Project
In early 2000, Toronto Hydro recognized the need to develop a capability to use electronic business transactions (EBTs) to communicate between the utility and electricity retailers. This need resulted from the Ontario government's desire to open the Ontario electricity market to competition. The deregulation of the electricity market was to be accomplished by separating the delivery of electricity, a natural monopoly that would continue to be regulated, and the retailing of electricity, which would be open to competitive organizations that would sell electricity to Ontario consumers. In the fall of 1999 the Ontario Energy Board, which regulates electric and gas utilities in Ontario, published the first draft of its Retail Settlement Code. This code mandates that electric utilities that deliver power to customers in Ontario would be required to communicate with electricity retailers to exchange information using EBTs for the proper operation of a competitive electricity market place.
The introduction of a specialized EBT communication system for Ontario required the utilities and retailers in the province to agree on a method of exchanging information electronically that would be available to all utilities and retailers in Ontario. Toronto Hydro elected to take a leadership role in setting up this EBT system, and launched a project with other interested parties in Ontario.
The Role of ExtenSys
ExtenSys was invited to participate in this project with Toronto Hydro. ExtenSys worked on a consulting basis to help the industry participants develop a set of standards for electronic business transactions for the province of Ontario. These standards employ the newly emerging eXtensible Markup Language (XML) for communications over the Internet. The standards, which were accepted, endorsed and published by the Ontario Energy Board, specify in detail how the Customer Information and Billing Systems used by electric utilities are required to communicate with the Customer Information and Billing Systems used by electricity retailers.
ExtenSys provided technical guidance, project management expertise, and meeting facilitation skills to the industry participants that worked together to define the EBT Standards. The project started in February 2000 and was completed in June 2000.
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