Global Adjustment (GA) fees can add up to 40-60% of a business’ electricity bill. The Ontario Government introduced the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) to encourage large electricity users to shift their consumption. By consuming power during off-peak hours, businesses can reduce a large part of their energy bill.

What is the Global Adjustment?

All energy users in Ontario pay a Global Adjustment fee. It covers the cost of:

  • building new electricity infrastructure
  • maintaining existing resources
  • providing conservation and demand management programs

Most customers have their GA based on their total energy use (MWh). Class A customers taking part in the ICI have an average monthly peak demand above 5 MW. For them, GA is based on their peak demand (MW). In fact, 8 hours of peak demand per year represents up to 70% of a Class A electricity bill.

Under the ICI program, GA charges are measured by energy use during coincident peaks. Coincident peaks are the 5 hours of the year when the demand for electricity in Ontario is at its highest. The charges are calculated by looking at a business’ share of the province’s total energy use.

Strategies for Saving During the Summer

Most coincident peaks take place in the summer when energy use is at its highest. Here are some ways to cut usage ahead of coincident peak hours.

1. Adjust Global Temperature

Increase zone temperature setpoints for the entire facility. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Absolute setpoint adjustment – increase all zone cooling setpoints to a common, higher value, like 24.5ºC
  2. Relative setpoint adjustment – increase all zone cooling setpoints by the same amount, like 2ºC

Added benefits: If occupants are comfortable with these levels, this can lead to savings all summer.

Risk: Ensure you are following ASHRAE standards for temperature changes.

Time Period (Hours) 0.25 0.5 1 2 4
Maximum Operative Temperature Change Allowed (ºC) 1.1 1.7 2.2 2.8 3.3

2. “Store” Cool Air When it’s Cheaper

Decrease temperature setpoints during off-peak hours to cool the building when costs are lower. When the curtailment window hits, increase temperature setpoints to prevent cooling operations from running.

Added benefits: Buildings in milder climates can use free, night-time outdoor air for cooling.

Risks: This strategy is only effective when facility managers know about peak demand in advance. Buildings need sufficient time to cool down.

3. Increase Chilled Water Temperature

Reduce cooling load by increasing chilled water temperature.

Added benefit: Raising chilled water temperature increases efficiency.

Risk: This strategy may cause inefficient operation if the chilled water temperature setpoints are already optimized. Use your best judgement.

4. Switch Off Luminaires

Switch off fractions of or entire luminaires in empty zones.

Risks: Ensure you are aware of zone occupancy. Otherwise, this may disrupt work. Do not use this strategy in high-security areas.

Energy dashboards can be a useful guide to helping facility managers make effective changes, but saving during GA season requires your best judgement and knowledge of your building and your occupants.