On December 2, 2015, Ontario's Auditor General released her
2015 Annual Report. One topic within the
report that has received a lot of attention from the media and
commentators (see for example, here and here) is "Electricity Power System
Planning." The headlines have focused on costs to ratepayers
from various Government policies and decisions. While these figures
certainly attract attention, a key focus of the Electricity Power System Planning section of
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk's report is on recommendations
about how to improve the ways that Ontario manages long-term demand
for electricity through various generation, conservation and
Having the Ministry of Energy comply with existing legislation
to have a long-term energy plan (LTEP) prepared by the IESO and
submitted to the OEB for approval. The roles of the IESO (as the
technical expert) and the OEB (as the protector of consumer
interests) should be clarified and enhanced.
Having the Ministry of Energy engage with the IESO and other
technical expert advisors before issuing directives, and also
requiring the Ministry to provide more public information
identifying and explaining the directives that are issued.
Having the Ministry of Energy work with the IESO, OPG, Hydro
One, local distribution companies and other technical experts to
determine the optimal electricity supply mix for Ontario, and to
evaluate different scenarios and to conduct cost/benefit analyses
and consider consumer impacts of decisions to be made.
In each response, the Ministry states that it "agrees"
with the Auditor General's recommendation. In almost every
response, the Ministry begins by suggesting that the recommendation
is being addressed through the Energy Statute Law Amendment
Act, 2015 (Bill 135). The Ministry asserts that Bill 135
(if passed) "would replace the current Integrated Power System
Plan (IPSP) process with an enhanced Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP)
process." Among other things, the Ministry's responses
also note that the Ministry "recognizes IESO's technical
knowledge and expertise with respect to the electricity sector and
is committed to maintaining an IESO role in the development of
future energy plans"; that the new LTEP process will
involve extensive consultations; and that the LTEP will be
cost-effective, because that is enshrined in Bill 135.
The Auditor General has not provided any commentary about the
Ministry's responses. The Auditor General acknowledges that
"[m]ost of the responses to our recommendations refer to
recently introduced draft legislation (Bill 135)", but states
that "[o]ur Office is not in a position to comment on the
merits of this draft legislation, nor at this point in time can we
assess whether the changes proposed in the draft legislation would
meet the intent of our recommendations."
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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