Telecommunications are critical to the safe, reliable, and affordable delivery of electricity to Canadians. Advanced telecommunications are needed to enable the smart grid.


Electricity Canada members operate critical infrastructure across Canada in the largest cities and, due to remote generation assets, in the most remote populated regions. Canadian electric utilities (CEUs) need telecommunications networks to:

  1. maintain secure and dependable tele-protection systems;
  2. monitor and control electrical infrastructure; and
  3. enable the safe and efficient dispatch of their field workforce for routine and recovery operations.

Because of these needs and the diverse geography that Electricity Canada members work across, they require a range of telecommunications options that can meet these challenges. Utilities typically make use of both commercial services and private telecommunications networks across many different technologies and spectrum bands. This combination often provides the best overall cost, performance, resiliency, and coverage.

As the role of electricity in our lives increases with the emergence of electric vehicles, distributed renewable generation, behind the meter storage and other technology, more advanced telecommunications systems are needed to monitor and manage all these new pieces of the grid – the smart grid. The smart grid requires advancements in both the capabilities of private networks and the ways that Electricity Canada members manage public networks.

Did You Know?

  • Electricity Canada has advocated that two separate, but related solutions are necessary for the smart grid.
    • The first is Private Virtual Network Operator (PVNO), which allows critical infrastructure, such as electrical utilities, to hold data routing capability. PVNO is a network design and operation solution, however, it does not carry spectrum. This capability was only held by telecom companies until April 2021, but CEA successfully advocated for an expansion of rights for electrical utilities. That regulatory decision was in many ways a world first.
    • The other major telecommunications advocacy file is to ensure there is 3GPP standards backed spectrum for industry to use directly to build private networks.
  • Electricity Canada won our PVNO case in April of 2021 and, as such, demonstrated the innovative character of our membership.