As Ontario’s independent energy regulator, we make decisions and rules to ensure that consumers are treated fairly and that the energy sector is reliable and sustainable. We oversee how energy companies operate to ensure the public interest is served. Our vision is to be a trusted regulator who is recognized for enabling Ontario’s growing economy and improving the quality of life for the people of this province who deserve safe, reliable and affordable energy.
Here are some of the things we do:
- Set the delivery rates energy utilities can charge
- Approve major new electricity transmission lines and natural gas pipelines
- Approve corporate changes by energy utilities
- Establish and enforce the rules for energy companies operating in Ontario
- Monitor the wholesale electricity market and the financial and operational performance of utilities
- Develop new energy policies and provide unbiased advice to government
- License energy companies in the electricity sector and natural gas marketers
- Provide information and tools to help consumers understand the rules that protect them and their responsibilities
Effective regulation delivers results
Regulation is critical because it sets out the rules that energy companies must follow and makes sure those rules are applied fairly and consistently. As well, many companies within Ontario’s energy system operate as monopolies. In the absence of competition, regulation ensures that the public good is served. Ultimately, we are striving to have an energy system that meets Ontario’s needs for today and tomorrow.
When energy regulation works well, it achieves measurable results:
- Consumers receive a reliable energy supply at a reasonable cost and understand what they’re paying for
- Energy utilities operate efficiently and make cost-effective investments that reflect consumers’ needs
- The public interest is served and consumers are protected
- Ontario is well-prepared for the future with a strong, stable energy distribution system
Natural monopolies and regulation
Many industries in Canada are subject to some form of regulation governing what they can and cannot do. Energy utilities are more closely regulated than many other industries because of the unique characteristics surrounding energy supply and delivery.
Unlike many other industries in which there are numerous companies competing to sell the same product or service, electricity and natural gas distribution and transmission are considered to be natural monopolies.
Regulation is a way to address the natural monopoly position of energy utilities. The laws, rules and requirements that the Ontario Energy Board enforces act as a substitute for the economic forces that would provide the checks and balances if these utilities operated in a competitive market. In this way, regulation protects the interests of consumers.