The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) recently released its 2015-2018 Business Plan. This document provides some indications as to where the OEB plans to focus its attention over the coming years. Among other things, it is clear that the OEB will take steps to encourage utility consolidation and to update rate policies to reward utilities that make efficient infrastructure decisions and investments.
The OEB’s 2015-2018 Business Plan is said to be founded on four broad objectives:
- Empowering consumers;
- Advancing utility performance;
- Enabling access to competitive energy choices; and
- Enhancing regulatory effectiveness
- The OEB has indicated that it will pursue a range of existing and new initiatives in relation to each objective. Among the interesting initiatives noted by the OEB are the following:
- Undertaking the second phase of the review of the role of intervenors in OEB proceedings (previously discussed here) and seeking opportunities to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the adjudicative process.
- Undertaking a review of OEB policies and practices to facilitate the completion of transactions (such as mergers) that can bring benefits to consumers and support the evolution of the energy sector, while protecting consumer interests.
- Reviewing rate setting policies related to infrastructure planning with a view to providing incentives for optimal decision making.
- Completing a review of the evolution of Ontario’s energy services market to look at emerging trends and to address any regulatory barriers that limit the ability of energy storage and other energy services to compete in Ontario.
- Each of these initiatives is planned to be underway by 2016 and will continue into 2017.