The Government of British Columbia launched an independent review of the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC). The goal of the Core Review is to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the BCUC.
The BCUC is an independent regulatory agency with the primary responsibility to regulate British Columbia’s natural gas and electricity utilities. The BCUC approves projects and costs, and sets customer rates, while ensuring utilities provide safe and reliable service.
During the 2013 Industrial Electricity Policy Review (IEPR), customer groups and utilities frequently raised concerns about the BCUC. As a result, the IEPR Task Force recommended an independent review of the BCUC, which the Government of British Columbia is initiating through the Core Review process.
The Core Review consultation with First Nations and key stakeholders began in late April 2014 and was completed by October 2014.
Citizens were invited to provide input either by email or requesting a meeting with the Task Force.
April 28 to October 14, 2014
Consultations were conducted with 25 stakeholder groups; to view a comprehensive list of the stakeholders and to read their submissions please see visit the B.C. Utilities Commission Review site.
Input leads to action:
The Task Force reported back to the Minister of Justice and the Minister Responsible for Core Review with a final report on November 14, 2014. Government accepted all 35 of the task force’s recommendations, and has worked with the British Columbia Utilities Commission since the release of the report to strengthen the BCUC and help restore the confidence of ratepayers and utilities.
Since the Task Force’s final report, the BCUC has created a publicly available implementation plan which was released in June 2015 and details actions and timelines addressing the recommendations to improve its internal processes, as well as its performance. On December 31, 2015 David Morton became the Chair of the BCUC replacing Len Kelsey.
The Province has also made progress acting on the Task Force’s recommendations by implementing changes to the Utilities Commission Act in the fall of 2015, which included:
- Legislatively requiring the BCUC to employ a Chief Operating Officer to manage staff allowing the Chair to focus more on proceedings and the strategic direction of the BCUC;
- Streamlining the exemption process to ensure the BCUC is focusing on the regulation of utilities where monopolies exist;
- Making BCUC’s regulation of BC Hydro comparable to other utilities with respect to British Columbia’s energy objectives as outlined in the Clean Energy Act; and
- Ensuring liquefied natural gas exporters are not regulated by the BCUC as they participate in a competitive market.
- Ensuring the application and exception process of mandatory reliability standards is consistent with other jurisdictions in North America.