Overview of Electricity Regulation in Canada

September 18, 2007

Reprinted with permission from the 2007/2008 Lexpert®/CCCA Corporate Counsel Directory and Yearbook, 6th Edition. © Thomson Carswell.

Electricity restructuring in Canada remains limited to only a few provincial jurisdictions. In those jurisdictions that have introduced private sector reforms, the results have been mixed and the process has been slow.

Alberta's electricity market is the most evolved, and it has stimulated the most private sector investment. No significant regulatory changes have interrupted the evolution of Alberta's market over the past year.

Ontario sought to introduce both wholesale and retail competition in 2002. High prices and other circumstances, however, conspired to bring a quick end to the market. Ontario has since adopted a "hybrid market." The most significant recent regulatory development in Ontario has been the Ontario Power Authority's ("OPA") release of its Supply Mix Advice Report and the provincial government's ensuing Supply Mix Directive. This was the first major step toward the OPA's development of a 20-year Integrated Power System Plan which the OPA aims to file in to file with the Ontario Energy Board ("OEB") in mid to late 2007 and have approved by the OEB the following year.

Some limited progress toward restructuring was made in British Columbia with the creation of the British Columbia Transmission Corp. ("BCTC"), whose mandate is to manage and provide non-discriminatory access to BC Hydro's transmission system. As well, in March 2007, the British Columbia Utilities Commission approved BC Hydro's Integrated Electricity Plan and Long-Term Acquisition Plan.

At the federal level, the last year has seen further progress toward the adoption of North American mandatory reliability standards. There have also been developments concerning the construction of international transmission projects.

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