The OEB is initiating a consultation to consider the merits of moving to a single annual natural gas rate application that will include both delivery-related and commodity-related rates from each rate-regulated natural gas distributor. This consultation will examine integrating and aligning the natural gas delivery-related and commodity-related rates and their impacts, given that natural gas distributors file several delivery-related applications each year, and four applications annually for commodity price-setting.
The OEB is also examining the Quarterly Rate Adjustment Mechanism (QRAM) process. The QRAM process was established over 15 years ago. It was designed to strike a balance between protecting customers from the impact of short-term rate volatility while still providing some level of market price transparency. However, the natural gas market has changed since then as prices have softened and have remained fairly stable over the years (except for the polar vortex in the winter of 2014). Given these changes, the OEB is analyzing whether an annual rate adjustment mechanism (ARAM) could be a reasonable alternative to the current QRAM process in the context of a single annual gas rate application.