International Power Lines Dashboard

Powerlines silhouetted by a sunset.

This visualization tool provides details about Canada’s international power lines (IPLs).

The information provided for each IPL includes the original Canada Energy Regulator (CER)-issued regulatory instrumentFootnote 1, the company name, operating status, its origin and destination, and basic IPL characteristics (length, voltage, and capacity when available).

How to use the map

Hover your mouse cursor over the IPL characteristics column to view the basic IPL details. Use the filters on the right-side to isolate IPLs by status, origin, and destination. Use the map to see how many IPL’s there are in each province.Footnote 2

Figure 1. Provincial International Power Lines Count

Source and Description

Source: CER regulatory documents

Description: This dashboard provides an overview of Canada’s IPLs. The map provides a breakdown of the number of IPL’s by province. The variables contained in the table below the map are:

Origin: The province where the IPLs Canadian terminal is located. In the IPL characteristics segment, when available, the specific location is included.

Destination: The State where the IPL’s U.S. terminal is located. In the IPL characteristics segment, when available, the specific location is included.

Original regulatory instrument: The original regulatory document (certificate or permit) related to the IPL.

Company: The name of the company owning the IPL.

IPL Characteristics:

  • Company name
  • Original regulatory instrument
  • Status
  • Origin
  • Destination
  • Length
  • Capacity (megawatts)
  • Voltage (kilovolts)

This tool uses current information for IPLs crossing the Canadian border. All the information can be retrieved from the CER website’s REGDOCS page. The raw dataset can also be downloaded from Open Government (open in Google Chrome).

On a grassy hill a group of CER field inspectors gather for a group exercise.

The CER’s electricity mandate is set out in the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CER Act). It includes the regulation of the construction and operation of IPLs and designated inter-provincial power lines, as well as electricity exports.Footnote 3

Applications for the construction and operation of IPLs, and for electricity exports related to those IPLs, are separate processes.

Construction and operation

Companies are required to obtain approval from the Commission of the CER (Commission) to construct IPLs and designated interprovincial power lines that would be regulated by the CER Act. Companies must also apply to the Commission to modify or abandon IPLs. The ongoing operation of IPLs often occurs under provincial laws, though some companies choose to have their IPLs remain within the CER’s jurisdiction, in which case they are operated under the CER Act.

Explore regulations, guidance, and related documents which support the CER Act in relation to the construction and operation of IPLs and designated inter-provincial power lines.

Electricity exports

Companies must have authorization before exporting electricity to the United States. There are two types of application processes:

  1. If there are no specific contracts or export sales arrangements in place, and the term requested is ten years or less, companies can apply for an electricity export permit through the CER’s Online Application System (OAS). It is sometimes referred as a blanket permit process.
  2. If there are export sales arrangements or contracts in place (which is usually the case for both contract-specific sales and border accommodations), and where a term of ten years or more is requested, companies must apply directly to the Commission; OAS is not available. The requirements for electricity permit applications that meet these criteria are set out in the regulations.

Explore regulations, guidance, and related documents which support the CER Act in relation to electricity exports (and deliveries on designated interprovincial power lines).

Prefix and Description of Regulatory Instruments

The regulatory instruments are named based on the type of application. The prefixes below describe the main application categories.

AOAmending Order – The approval of an amendment including transfers as to content or conditions of any Certificate, License, Order or Permit
ECElectricity Certificate – The approval of the construction and/or operation of an IPL under the certificate provisions of the CER Act
EPEElectricity Export Permit – The approval of the export of power and/or energy
EPElectricity Permit – The approval of the construction and operation of an IPL under the certificate provisions of the CER Act
MOMiscellaneous Order – The approval of miscellaneous matters
RORevocation Order – The revocation of Certificate, License, Order or Permit (in some cases, the approval of the Governor in Council for the revocation is required)
XEElectricity Order – The exemption from certification for an IPL (pre 1990)

Line status definitions:

OperatingThe regulated IPL is in service.
ApprovedThe CER approved an application to construct and operate an IPL, but it may not be operating.
RevokedThe regulatory instrument issued with respect to the IPL is revoked.
ExpiredThe regulatory instrument issued with respect to the IPL is no longer valid.
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