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Operations planning

We plan for power demand, water supply and more

A lot of careful study and continuous planning goes into the operation of a large and complex electric system. We need to plan ahead to account for various factors and changing conditions that can affect the hour-to-hour, day-to-day and long-term supply of electricity.

Operations planning is guided by:

  • Safety of lives and property
  • Legal and social obligations
  • Present and future power demand
  • Maximizing the value of generating resources

The planning process requires input on everything from weather forecasts and domestic power demand forecasts to market forecasts, water supply forecasts, and fuel price and availability. We also need to consider system constraints, dam safety, plus environmental and other physical data. We consult with social and governmental organizations and First Nations in our planning process.

Get details about current projects, including upgrades to our hydroelectric power stations, in our Projects and operations section. That’s where you’ll find information about rights-of-way and power lines, our transmission network, water flows and reservoirs, and dam safety.

Get information about our shorter-term planning in the BC Hydro Service Plan, which is a report to the Government of B.C. that outlines updated financial and operational objectives. It takes into consideration evolving information around climate change, technological advances and customer energy needs.

Operations planning calendar

We divide our complex operations planning process into time horizons:

  1. Long-term system planning
  2. Operations planning
  3. Same-day operations

Long-term system planning

Long-term system planning ensures that adequate resources will be available to meet future electricity demand. Resource acquisition requirements are determined in accordance with policy to balance supply and demand.

We conduct long-term integrated electricity planning studies to develop and analyze resource portfolios for the future. This process includes the consideration of environmental and social factors in addition to the economic and cost factors.

Find former plans in our long-term electricity planning page.

Medium-term operations planning

We rely on plans to provide guidance for the operation of the electric system. Studies are performed to evaluate the capability of the existing system to meet operational requirements, given the uncertainties of inflow and electricity demand, and various operating factors.

We constantly revisit operating plans for each reservoir and generating station, and individual generating units in order to meet domestic and contracted power requirements.

Same-day operations

Same-day operations planning meets demands and contractual power agreements with power production, hour by hour. The plans are adjusted to meet changes in conditions during the day.