At a time of increasing energy costs and significant technological and policy change, more effective representation of consumer interests in regulatory and policy decision-making is warranted, argues the latest report from Mowat Energy's On the Grid series.
Both regulatory and policy decisions affect energy – electricity and natural gas – consumers. But a mechanism to support consumer representation currently exists only in regulatory decision-making by the Ontario Energy Board.
The report recommends establishing in Ontario an Energy Consumer Advocate Office. This office would be independent of government, and would be empowered to represent the consumer interest in both regulatory and policy decision-making processes that could affect energy prices and service adequacy, reliability and quality. Such an institution, concludes the report, would play an important role in controlling rising energy costs and smoothing the introduction of new technologies and policies, while also increasing the transparency of the energy system and the trust energy consumers have in government processes that affect them.
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This article was co-authored by Paul Sommerville, Executive Director at Mowat Centre.