FortisAlberta Launches Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Pilot 



As Electric Vehicle (EV) ownership continues to increase throughout the province, FortisAlberta, the electricity distribution provider to more than 240 Alberta communities, is looking to find out how the continued growth of EVs, as well as residential charging (and the infrastructure required for it) will impact the province’s electricity distribution grid.

Before detailing how FortisAlberta plans to explore this question, a bit of background. 

Those unfamiliar with the rapid growth of EV adoption in Alberta may be surprised to know that in just five years, from 2018 to 2022, the number of EVs registered throughout the province increased more than 900 per cent, from 635 to more than 5,600, according to the Government of Alberta Ministry of Transportation

For FortisAlberta, these rising EV adoption rates present an opportunity to examine how the province’s electricity distribution infrastructure can be most efficiently utilized as EV residential charging climbs across the organization’s service territory – an area made up of more than 127,000 kilometres of line, powering areas as far north as Conklin, all the way down to Alberta’s southern border. 

That’s a lot of territory, a lot of customers and a lot of reasons to innovate the distribution grid in a way that works for all Albertans. 

So how does an organization of FortisAlberta’s size remain in front of the ever-evolving electricity needs of its customers?    

Introducing the FortisAlberta Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Pilot

Throughout 2023, FortisAlberta is gathering data to closely examine the charging habits of EV owners throughout its rural service area. This pilot is a first of its kind in Alberta as it is exploring the EV charging data outside of the province’s major urban centres. 

The data collected will be essential to understanding and managing the increased electricity demands placed on the distribution grid as more and more EVs hit Alberta highways. Exploring EV charge duration, frequency and scheduling will allow FortisAlberta to better understand where and when residential EV charging is placing increased demand on the distribution system. 

The information gathered from the pilot will play a key role in the planning and investment into the future of FortisAlberta’s electricity distribution infrastructure as the province moves toward the federal government’s target that all new light-duty cars and passenger trucks be one hundred per cent zero emission by 2035. 

“The data gathered will help us understand vehicle charging requirements of our customers,” says Curtis Eck, Vice President of Engineering. “It will also demonstrate the opportunity for active managed charging to mitigate grid impacts, reduce carbon impacts, and save customers money; costs that directly impact the transmission and distribution fees on Albertan’s utility bills.”

Over the course of the first two weeks of the pilot’s official Jan. 16 launch, more than 100 customers enroled. With a total of 600 spots available, FortisAlberta customers who drive an EV and live within the Company’s service area are encouraged to participate in the study by downloading and signing up through the free Optiwatt app available on the Google Play and Apple App stores. 

Participants will receive incentives to take part while also playing a role in FortisAlberta’s commitment to maintaining a strong, reliable grid throughout Alberta. Visit to learn more.