Ontario Establishing Panel to Modernize the Ontario Energy Board
Province Seeking Advice to Prepare for Innovation and Technological Change
Ontario is launching a review of the province's independent energy regulator--the Ontario Energy Board (OEB)--to ensure it can best adapt to innovative services and new technologies.
The OEB is responsible for establishing energy rates and prices that are reasonable, setting rules for energy companies operating in Ontario, and making the energy system easier to navigate and understand for consumers.
In order to build on this mandate and prepare for the future, the province has established an expert review panel, led by Richard Dicerni, a former public service executive with significant energy sector expertise. Additional members of the panel will be announced in the coming weeks.
The panel will have a broad mandate including reviewing how the OEB can continue to protect consumers amidst a rapidly changing sector, support innovation and new technologies, and how the OEB should be structured and resourced to deliver on its changing role. The panel will seek feedback from the public starting in spring 2018, examine best practices from other jurisdictions and report back to government by the end of 2018.
Reviewing the province’s energy regulator is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- In the last eight years, the OEB has reported that it reviewed over 100 major rate applications and reduced requested rate increases by an average of about 40 per cent.
- Grid modernization policy and regulatory reviews are underway in at least 30 American states. In Canada, the National Energy Board and the Alberta Utilities Commission have undertaken governance reforms to better promote regulation for the future.
- Ontario has become a hub of innovation and is focused on encouraging a culture of innovation within the electricity sector. This includes exploring new solutions for integrating many technologies, testing new business models, integrating electricity and other energy resources and generating new ideas for advancing grid modernization.
“As Ontario’s energy sector continues to become more consumer-focused, families and businesses are asking for increased transparency and innovation from energy companies and agencies. Utilities and regulators need to respond by renewing their focus on efficiency, reliability, affordability and looking at new cutting-edge ways of keeping electricity consumers as their top priority.”