On June 2, 2016, the Ontario Legislature passed the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act,
2015 (also referred to as Bill 135). The new legislation
will come into force at a currently unspecified later date.
Long-term energy planning: The Electricity Act, 1998 will be amended
to give the Minister of Energy (Minister), rather than the IESO,
the responsibility for developing a long-term energy plan at least
once each period specified within Regulations. The IESO's role
in developing the long-term energy plan is to provide technical
reports when requested by the Minister. While there will be an
obligation on the Minister to consult with consumers, distributors,
generators, transmitters and aboriginal peoples, there is no
requirement that the long-term energy plan be reviewed by the OEB,
as was the case previously in respect of the integrated power
Role of the IESO and OEB in relation to the long-term energy
plan: Bill 135 amends the Electricity Act, 1998 to give the
Minister the power to issue directives to the IESO and to the OEB
respecting the implementation of the long-term energy plan and
requiring the IESO and the OEB to submit implementation plans for
approval. Where required in an implementation plan, the IESO will
be empowered to enter into contracts for the procurement of a
variety of items, some of which go beyond what is contemplated in
the current procurement provision of the Electricity Act, 1998. For example,
the IESO will be empowered to enter into contracts for procurement
of electricity storage and for changes in electricity demand, as
well as transmission systems (including the development of such
Feed-in tariff program: The current provision of the Electricity Act, 1998, under which the
Minister can direct the IESO to develop a feed-in tariff program,
will be repealed. However, the existing Minister's direction to
establish a feed-in tariff program, and any program or thing
established or done in accordance with that direction, will be
Energy conservation: Under amendments to the Green Energy Act, 2009, there will be
new reporting requirements, and water conservation (efficient use
of water) will be addressed in certain provisions of that statute.
The proposed amendments contemplate that Regulations may be created
to require a "prescribed person" to report to the
Ministry of Energy about energy consumption, water use, ratings or
other performance metrics in respect of energy consumption and
water use. There may also be verification requirements for the
reported information. As described in a previous
post, draft Regulations to implement the foregoing have already
been published for comment. The proposed amendments would require
electricity, gas and water distributors to make available
prescribed information about consumption of electricity, gas and
explained earlier this year, the element of the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act,
2015 that has attracted the most attention is the move to
expand the role of the Minister of Energy in developing long-term
energy plans for Ontario, thereby placing the IESO into more of a
supporting role to implement the Minister's plans. According to
the Minister of Energy's Press Release, the new legislation
"establishes a long-term energy planning framework that is
efficient, supported by robust community engagement and responsive
to emerging technologies in the energy sector." Whether this
"efficiency" is a good trade-off for the reduction in
system planning determinations from the IESO and oversight from the
OEB will be a point of attention in coming years.
With the passage of the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act,
2015, the Government has indicated that it will move ahead
quickly with its new Long-Term Energy Plan. As required by the new
legislation, one aspect of the development of the new plan is
engagement with interested parties. According to the Minister of
Energy's Press Release, there will be "formal
engagement with Indigenous communities and the broader public
taking place later this year."
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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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