Energy utilities that want to change their rates must get our approval first. Same thing if they want to build new facilities or change their corporate structure.
Deciding utilities’ rate applications
As Ontario’s independent energy regulator, part of our job is to consider how well the utility’s interests align with your interests. We do this when we review utilities’ rate applications. In these applications, we look for evidence of reasonable prices, good reliability and quality service so that we can be sure that the utility is meeting your needs, while also remaining financially viable.
Visit the current applications page to learn the facts and comment on a specific application:
- See what your utility is asking for and why, and provide your comments online
- Find out when upcoming community meetings and hearings are being held so that you can attend
- Read documents related to the case
Approving new construction
If energy companies want to build new infrastructure – such as constructing a new natural gas pipeline or building an electricity transmission line – they must get approval from us first. Our goal is to determine whether the project is in the public interest.
When considering whether to approve a gas pipeline, we look at a number of things, including whether:
- The project is necessary and economically feasible
- Safety obligations set out by the Technical Standards Safety Act will be met
- Any environmental impact of the project have been identified and a plan to minimize those impacts has been developed
- Landowners affected by the project will be offered an agreement that is fair and reasonable
- Any Indigenous Communities potentially affected by the project have been adequately consulted
- The OEB welcomes active participation by Indigenous peoples in OEB hearings to ensure that their voices are heard and their concerns are considered. This includes concerns about any adverse impacts on their Aboriginal or treaty rights when within the OEB’s mandate, as well as other issues as may be within the scope of the hearing. Find out more: Consultation with Indigenous Peoples
When considering whether to approve an electricity transmission line, we look at:
- The cost of building the transmission line
- Whether the new line will affect electricity quality and reliability
- Whether the project promotes the use of renewable energy sources consistent with the Government of Ontario’s policies
- Whether landowners affected by the project will be offered an agreement that is fair and reasonable
Approvals for changes in corporate ownership
Energy utilities that are planning to merge with another company or otherwise change their corporate structure also require our approval.
For electricity utilities we will only approve their plan if we are satisfied that consumers will not be harmed. When we assess a proposed merger or other planned change in corporate structure of an electricity utility, we assess whether there will be any adverse effects on price or quality of service to customers, or on the cost effectiveness, economic efficiency or financial viability of the utilities involved. We expect that the costs to serve customers will not be higher than they would have been without the merger or other corporate structure change.
Regardless of any merger or corporate structure change, we continue to review and approve their applications for rate changes, monitor their performance and enforce compliance.
In 2016, we issued the Handbook to Electricity Distributor and Transmitter Consolidations in order to be transparent with applicants, shareholders, and consumers about our criteria for evaluating merger applications and other corporate structure change applications from electricity utilities.