BCUC Establishes Process for Inquiry into the Regulation of Municipal Energy Utilities

The Nelson Hydro dam.

Nelson Hydro's West Kootenay operations are owned by the City of Nelson. — Photo courtesy City of Nelson

By Order G-177-19, dated August 1, 2019, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has established an inquiry to examine the regulation of energy utilities affiliated with municipalities and regional districts (Inquiry). The Inquiry seeks to provide clarity to the BCUC, utilities and municipalities regarding the appropriate level of regulation required to meet the needs of stakeholders while respecting existing oversight tools and objectives at the local government level.

The Inquiry will explore the appropriate regulatory status, under the Utilities Commission Act (UCA), of utilities affiliated with municipalities and regional districts. This includes issues related to ownership structures and operational arrangements of such organizations.

Upon the completion of this Inquiry, the BCUC will consider if it is appropriate or necessary to:

  • seek advance approval from the Government of BC to offer a class of cases exemption to municipalities and regional district energy systems in certain circumstances; and/or
  • make a recommendation to the Government of BC to review the definition of a “public utility” within the UCA as it relates to such entities.

Findings and recommendations from the Inquiry will be shared with the Government of BC.

There are a number of ways to participate in the Inquiry process, outlined below.

Request intervener status: Persons who are directly or sufficiently affected by the BCUC’s decision or have relevant information or expertise, and who wish to actively participate in the proceeding, can request intervener status by submitting a completed Request to Intervene Form online by Thursday, September 12, 2019.

Submit a letter of comment: Members of the public can submit a letter of comment online. Letters of comment are intended to provide for any member of the public to contribute views, opinions, and impact or potential impact, with respect to a matter before the BCUC, to the public record by Thursday, October 24, 2019.

Register as an interested party: Interested parties can register online to receive updates on the proceeding. For more information on the scope, timing, and details of the Inquiry, please see the proceeding page on our website.

About the BCUC

The BCUC is a regulatory agency responsible for the oversight of energy utilities and compulsory auto insurance in British Columbia. It is the BCUC’s role to balance the interests of customers with the interests of the businesses it regulates. The BCUC carries out fair and transparent reviews of matters within its jurisdiction and considers public input where public interest is impacted.

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