Canadian electricity markets during the COVID-19 pandemic: An initial assessment

This paper examines the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on electricity markets across select Canadian provinces with available data. Using high frequency electricity data, we find electricity demand declined by roughly 10% in Ontario, and by about 5% in Alberta, British Columbia, and New Brunswick. On the supply side, in Alberta we find reductions from some natural gas plants and an increase in net generation from the oil sands region, while Ontario sees an increase in net electricity exports. Policy implications include potential rate impacts due to fixed charges spread over a smaller rate base, the potential use of electricity data as a real-time economic indicator during the pandemic, and a call to arms to make electricity data across all Canadian provinces more readily available.