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Sault Ste Marie advances community-wide smart grid project

The grid claims to be a first for Canada and, as well as reliability improvements and better data reporting, it will deliver direct GHG emission reductions of 2,804 tonnes CO2 annually. 

Sault Ste Marie_Editorial_Use_Only_Adobe.jpg
Sault Ste Marie_Editorial_Use_Only_Adobe.jpg

Sault Ste Marie is preparing to host an advanced smart grid project following approval from the Ontario Energy Board to enable it to proceed.


The Sault Smart Grid Project (SSG project) is a community-wide smart grid that will cover local distribution company Puc Distribution’s entire service territory. It is anticipated the project will transform the entire distribution system by implementing various integrated technologies such as voltage/VAR optimisation, distribution automation and advanced metering infrastructure.


High-quality power


According to Puc Distribution, it will create a first of its kind grid in Canada that is ready for the future along with meeting new and growing demand for reliable and high-quality power.

The SSG project will deliver direct benefits to customers through reduction in energy consumption and monthly bills, reliability improvements and improved planning and data reporting systems, the company claims. It will also deliver direct GHG emissions reductions of 2,804 tonnes CO2 annually.


“This is really great news for our community and the Puc group of companies. “We set out to become a national leader in the energy industry and with this project, that goal will be realised,” said Christian Provenzano, mayor of Sault Ste Marie.


The project is innovative, locally supported and has secured significant funding from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) of $11.8m.

“We set out to become a national leader in the energy industry and, with this project, that goal will be realised”

“The SSG project will not only help customers save on their monthly bill but it will also help the utility better prepare for emergencies such as blackouts and storms and through its ‘self-healing’ technology reduce the duration and number of outages,” added Rob Brewer, president and CEO of Puc.


“The smart grid technology can pinpoint the outage location immediately, allowing us to quickly restore power to all the areas except for where the problem is, so instead of hundreds of customers affected by a tree falling on a power line there may be only a handful of homes affected by it.”


Since 2008, nearly $1bn of energy investments have been made in the Sault Ste Marie region and city council declared the community the “alternative energy capital of North America” with an array of energy projects including:

  • 272 MW of wind generation
  • 68MW solar generation
  • 203MW hydroelectric generation
  • 7MW battery storage project
  • 70MW cogeneration facility at Algoma Steel
  • headquarters of Heliene a solar panel manufacturing facility
  • smart meters deployed to all customers
  • community-wide LED streetlight installation.

Puc Distribution serves approximately 33,500 mostly residential and commercial electricity customers in Sault Ste Marie as well as parts of Prince Township, Dennis Township and the Rankin Reserve.


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