The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) issued its Issues List decision March 26, 2008. The decision defines the scope of hearing and questions the Board will address in its review of the Ontario Power Authority's Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP) and procurement process. The OEB hearings are expected to begin in mid to late 2008.
The OEB review is mandated by the Electricity Act which gives the OPA responsibility for developing a Plan to manage Ontario’s electricity system, and a procurement process for managing electricity supply, capacity and demand. The Plan must be approved by the OEB.
Before issuing the decision, the Board heard from 28 intervenors representing a variety of interests. Some intervenors asked the Board to include issues that went beyond the mandate set out in the Electricity Act for its review of the Plan. The Board declined. However, the Board emphasized that the while the Issues List defines the scope of the hearing, it is not meant to be exhaustive of every sub-issue that may arise.
Important questions that will be within the scope of the hearing include:
- whether the Plan meets the Minister’s goals for conservation and renewable generation, and whether it would be more economically prudent and cost effective to exceed the targets
- whether environmental sustainability was meaningfully considered in developing the plan
- whether the procurement process is fair, clearly stated, open and accessible to a broad range of interested bidders
- whether the procurement process has an adverse impact outside of the OPA procurement process on investment in electricity supply and capacity
- whether the procurement process ensures that there will be no conflicts of interest or unfair advantage in the selection process
- whether the OPA has identified and developed innovative strategies to encourage and facilitate competitive market-based responses and options for meeting overall system needs
The hearings will shape the future electricity market, its impact on the environment and consumers, and have the potential to affect who will be the players in Ontario’s future generation, distribution or transmission.
At the Issues hearing, Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP represented three clients with diverse interests in the electricity industry: Bullfrog Power, the National Chief's Office on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, and Northwatch.
For legal advice on environment, energy and aboriginal law call W+SEL lawyers:
Juli Abouchar – 416-862-4836
Paul Manning – 416-862-4843
Jennifer Agnolin – 416-862-4830