Legislative changes intended to strengthen the role of the OEB in five core areas are coming. Energy Minister Chiarelli outlined these core areas during his keynote address at the 14th Ontario Power Summit on May 12, 2015:
- Raise the cap for financial penalties levied by the OEB on utilities for non-compliance from a maximum of $20,000 each day that the contravention occurs to a maximum of $1-million per day;
- Empower the OEB to appoint a supervisor in situations where a distributor or transmitter is unable to meet its financial obligations or reliability standards to ensure continuity of service for affected communities;
- Clarify the ability of LDCs to expand their business beyond electricity delivery to other services, such as water and wastewater services, in order to drive innovation;
- Allow the OEB to establish more nimble structures to better engage with customers while enhancing customer advocacy and representation. This objective is in line with the recent announcement of the OEB that it is moving forward with the second phase of its review of the intervenor framework and whether a different model should be adopted for the representation of consumer interests in OEB proceedings; and
- Enhanced powers for Cabinet to designate key transmission corridors to expedite their construction, such as the grid connection of Ontario’s remote first nation communities, a transmission link to the Ring of Fire or enhanced intertie capacity with neighbouring jurisdictions to support clean energy imports.
Minister Chiarelli indicated the legislation would be tabled later this spring.