Performance standards for processing applications

Performance standards outline the typical procedural steps associated with processing a particular type of application and the typical number of calendar days for each step.

To enhance the OEB’s transparency on meeting its performance standards, we have launched a new adjudicative reporting dashboard. This tool provides stakeholders a snapshot report, with a discussion, on OEB’s adjudicative work. The dashboard will be updated semi-annually.

 

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Leave to Construct Performance Standards

There are two Leave to Construct performance standards. One performance standard is for more complex applications and one performance standard is for more straightforward applications. These performance standards will be in effect on April 1, 2021

Click on the name of the performance standard in the table below to view the schedule.

  Decision Writing Period (Elapsed Calendar Days) Total Cycle Time (Elapsed Calendar Days)
Complex Electricity & Natural Gas 60 210
Short-form Electricity & Natural Gas 30 135

 

The OEB has established criteria for assessing which performance standard will apply to Leave to Construct applications. These criteria are intended as a guide. The actual performance standard that will apply will depend on the exact nature of the application and its content.

Click on the name of the performance standard below to view the respective criteria.

Criteria for Complex Application Performance Standard

Below are the criteria that will inform whether the Complex performance standard will apply to a Leave to Construct (LTC) application. Section references below are to sections of the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998.

ELECTRICITY LTC APPLICATIONS:

  1. Relates to a greenfield project
  2. Project requires a capital contribution or involves a complex economic evaluation or contestable connection procedure
  3. One phase of a broader or multi-phase project
  4. Involves significant new land rights
  5. If approved, will result in significant changes to the existing ‘look’ of the transmission line (e.g., changing from wood poles to steel structure or overhead lines to cables)
  6. If approved, will result in a change to the line voltage
  7. The application contains a supplemental request under any of the following sections:
  • section 78 (electricity rates)
  • section 98 (entry onto land)
  • section 101 (construction of work upon, under or over a highway, utility line or ditch)
  1. Requires additions / revisions to the standard issues list
  2. No approved Environmental Assessment stipulating the route that the project must take
  3. Raises a significant factual, legal or policy issue

 

NATURAL GAS LTC APPLICATIONS:

  1. The project is subject to competition to serve an unserved area
  2. The project involves natural gas expansion funding (section 36.2)
  3. One phase of a broader or multi-phase project
  4. The application contains a supplemental request under any of the following sections:
  • section 36 (natural gas rates)
  • section 98 (entry onto land)
  • section 101 (construction of work upon, under or over a highway, utility line or ditch)
  1. Raises the adequacy of Indigenous consultation as an issue
  2. Requires additions / revisions to the standard issues list
  3. Raises a significant factual, legal or policy issue

Criteria for Short-form Application Performance Standard

Below are the criteria that will inform whether the Short-form performance standard will apply to a Leave to Construct (LTC) application. Section references below are to sections of the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998.

ELECTRICITY LTC APPLICATIONS:

  1. Involves a re-conductoring project that is predominantly on an existing transmission right-of-way
  2. If approved, will increase the ampacity rating / kcmil of the conductor, but does not change the line voltage (e.g., 155 kV to 230 kV)
  3. Involves a limited number of new permanent land rights
  4. There is an approved Environmental Assessment stipulating the route that the project must take
  5. Does not require additions / revisions to the standard issues list
  6. Exemption requested under section 95
  7. Does not raise significant factual, legal or policy issues

 

NATURAL GAS LTC APPLICATIONS:

  1. The application does not contain any supplemental requests under the following sections:
  • section 36 (natural gas rates)
  • section 98 (entry onto land)
  • section 101 (construction of work upon, under or over a highway, utility line or ditch)
  1. Are not subject to competition to serve an unserved area
  2. Does not raise the adequacy of Indigenous consultation as an issue
  3. Does not require additions / revisions to the standard issues list
  4. Exemption requested under section 95
  5. Does not raise significant factual, legal or policy issues

The OEB has established standard issues lists for Leave to Construct applications. The standard issues lists are intended to ensure that the OEB’s review is focused and aligned with its mandate.

Standard issues lists have been developed for:

The OEB recognizes that some applications can raise unique issues, and the Complex Electricity & Natural Gas performance standard contemplates that submissions on the standard issues lists may be needed. It is anticipated that the standard issues lists will be sufficient for applications to which the Short-form Electricity & Natural Gas performance standard applies.

 

 

Motion to Review Performance Standards

The Motion to Review performance standards reflect the type of motion that can be filed with the OEB.

Click on the name of the performance standard in the table below to view the schedule.

  Decision Writing Period (Elapsed Calendar Days) Total Cycle Time (Elapsed Calendar Days)
New Evidence / Facts or Change in Circumstances 60 165
Error (no discovery) 60 135

 

 

Rates Performance Standards

There are four Rate performance standards. The performance standards are based on revenue requirement size and application complexity. These performance standards have been in effect since April 1, 2019.

Click on the name of the performance standard in the table below to view the schedule.

  Decision Writing Period (Elapsed Calendar Days) Total Cycle Time (Elapsed Calendar Days)
Cost-Based >$500M Revenue Requirement 90 355
Cost-Based <$500M Revenue Requirement 60 230
Complex Incentive Rate-setting Mechanism 
(or other stand-alone request)
60 165
Accounting Order (or other stand-alone request) 30 125

 

 

Other Performance Standards

The following table details all other performance standards used by the OEB for processing applications. Total Cycle Time represents the calendar days from issuance of completeness letter to final decision.

 

PERFORMANCE STANDARD TOTAL CYCLE TIME
Municipal Franchise or Certificate
Oral Hearing 205
Written Hearing 90
Gas Storage Designation
Oral Hearing 210
Written Hearing 130
Well Drilling
Oral Hearing 210
Written Hearing 130
Licence – Individual Application
Oral Hearing 210
Written Hearing 130
Written hearing – One Step Notice 90 (60 days for feed-in tariff applications)
Mergers, Acquisitions, Amalgamations and Divestitures - A review of Section 80 or 81 notice of proposal under Section 82 (generation, transmission, distribution ownership prohibition without prior notice)
Oral Hearing 220
Written Hearing 170
Mergers, Acquisitions, Amalgamations and Divestitures - Section 86 (change of ownership or control of utilities and assets)
Oral Hearing 180
Written Hearing 130
Quarterly Rate Adjustment (QRAM) Filings – Gas
Written Review 21
Other
Sandbox Decision (if required) 185

 

 

Protocol for Adjusting Adjudicative Timelines

The protocol accounts for delays that are two weeks or longer, and are driven by applicant requests, or certain requests related to expert evidence, that may or may not have a defined time period at the time the request is made. In addition to accounting for delays outside of its control, the OEB has implemented a Holiday Timeout to account for the late December, early January holiday period. In either case, application performance standards will be extended to accommodate the delay / timeout, including the planned date for the OEB’s final decision.

The protocol is intended to facilitate a predictable, transparent, and mechanistic adjustment to the OEB’s planned decision issuance dates so that parties to the OEB’s adjudicative proceedings understand the implications of any delays in an expedient manner.

The Holiday Timeout will occur from December 19, 2021 to January 8, 2022 this year, and the protocol will apply to delays in the processing of applications as of January 1, 2022.

Holiday Timeout

The Holiday Timeout period has been established for the late December, early January period. The processing of an application will be paused during this period. No procedural steps will be planned. The Holiday Timeout will commence the first day of the week in which Christmas Day falls, to the end of the week in which New Year’s Day falls. The specific dates comprising the Holiday Timeout will be outlined in a letter to industry at the commencement of each calendar year.

The Holiday Timeout does not preclude any party or OEB staff from filing materials through the OEB’s Regulatory Electronic Submission System (RESS) during the holiday period.

Defined Extension Requests and Undetermined Extension Requests

For a delay to result in an adjustment of a proceeding’s timeline, the delay must meet a minimum threshold of two weeks and be driven by one of the prescribed events.

Defined Extension Request:

When a request for a delay occurs in a proceeding and it has a known duration of at least two weeks at the time the OEB is notified, it is called a Defined Extension Request. If the request is approved, the application will be pausedAn application is 'paused' when the delay causes the dates of the subsequent procedural steps to be postponed (e.g., dates are pushed back two weeks). for the duration of the delay. The delay does not change the required procedural step(s) but rather extends the date(s) on which they occur.

A prescribed list of events that qualify is set out below.

  • An applicant is unable to complete directions for service of Notice within the established timeline
  • An applicant requests additional time to respond to interrogatories and / or undertakings, and / or to file a settlement proposal, and / or to file an argument-in-chief / reply submission
  • An applicant or expert witness approved by the panel of Commissioners not being available to schedule an event per the application’s timeline

Undetermined Extension Request:

When a request for a delay occurs in a proceeding and the full extent of the delay duration is not known at the time the OEB is notified, and it is anticipated to be at least two weeks, it is called an Undetermined Extension Request. If the request is approved, the application will be placed in abeyanceAn application is placed in ‘abeyance’ when a proceeding can no longer continue until an event occurs. For instance, a major revision to an application such as a significant piece of new evidence must be filed, and / or the OEB must wait for external information (e.g., a court decision) before any other procedural step can occur. Once the proceeding resumes, procedural steps and corresponding dates may need to be added / modified.. Following the re-commencement of the proceeding, procedural step(s) may need to be added or modified depending on the nature of the delay.

A prescribed list of events that would qualify is set out below.

  • The need (as determined by the OEB) for updated or additional materials to be filed by an applicant before a decision can be made
  • The need (as determined by the OEB) to wait for the outcome of a court decision, or separate decision by the OEB or other authority
  • Government and / or other third-party authority delays in filing necessary evidence to be included in an application (e.g., letter on sufficiency of Indigenous consultation)

Multiple Delays:

There may be circumstances where an application experiences multiple delays that do not, on their own, meet the two-week minimum threshold. If the combined duration of multiple delays exceeds the two-week threshold, and each delay meets the criteria in the prescribed list, the application timeline will be adjusted.

For instance, if an application experiences three separate delays – each comprising five calendar days and each meets the criteria on the prescribed list – the performance standard will be extended by a total of 15 calendar days. Since the first two delays will only amount to ten calendar days, no adjustment will be made to the application timeline until / if the third delay occurs.

 

 

Application Planning Tool

To assist applicants in understanding procedural timelines for certain applications, the OEB has developed an Application Planning Tool.