Consumer Representation Before The Ontario Energy Board
The Council is currently an active participant in the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) Proceedings and Consultation Processes. The Ontario Energy Board oversees the province’s electricity and natural gas sectors through economic regulation. The mission of the OEB is to promote a viable, sustainable and efficient energy sector that serves the public interest and assists consumers to obtain reliable energy services at a reasonable cost.
With respect to electricity, the OEB sets transmission and distribution rates. It also sets the rates for the Standard Supply Service for utilities that supply electricity (commodity). The Board also licences all market participants including the Independent Electricity System Operator, generators, transmitters, distributors, and retailers.
On the natural gas side the Board regulates Ontario’s natural gas utilities which are required to submit the rates they propose to charge their customers to the OEB for approval. The OEB also licences all marketers who sell natural gas to residential and small commercial customers.
The OEB carries out its mandate through formal hearing processes that can take many months to complete. In addition, the OEB undertakes consultation processes that assist it in making policy decisions. Those processes usually involve releasing draft reports for comment prior to their finalization, and holding workshops in order to facilitate stakeholder input. Finally, the Board from time to time establishes working groups to assist it in policy development and the establishment of rules and guidelines for both the electricity and natural gas sectors.
The Council regularly intervenes in the large local electric utility rate applications. Local utilities are required to come before the OEB to have their rates “rebased” every four years. In the interim period their rates are set using a formula that allows for an increase to reflect inflation, but also has a factor for expected productivity improvements.
The OEB undertakes numerous consultation processes throughout the year that consider issues including, for example, conservation and demand management policies, natural gas pricing policies, rules for connecting renewable generation, rules regarding natural gas contracting, polices regarding time-of use pricing, and the design of low-income programs for energy consumers etc.
- The Council is currently represented on the following committees:
- Stakeholder Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors (Independent System Operator)
- Hydro One Networks, Customer Advisory Board
- Union Gas, Evaluation and Audit Committee
- Union Gas – Demand Side Management Consultative
- Enbridge Gas Distribution – Demand Side Management Consultative