On June 27, 2016, the Minister of Energy asked the OEB to examine and provide advice on options for an appropriate electricity rate (or rate assistance) for on-reserve First Nations electricity consumers (“First Nations Rate”).
As the Minister’s letter pointed out, First Nations leaders had been advocating for the need to review delivery charges associated with transmission and distribution assets to provide electricity rate relief for on-reserve customers. The Minister’s letter included a request that the OEB undertake outreach and engagement with First Nations communities to ensure that an understanding of the unique electricity issues facing their community members informed the OEB’s efforts on this initiative.
In order to advise on options for a First Nations Rate, the Minister asked the OEB to:
- Identify eligible on-reserve First Nations consumers, including those who may live on reserves not connected to the IESO grid and those served by power systems not regulated by the OEB;
- Consider impacts on existing electricity consumers, as well as distribution and transmission utilities and other stakeholders;
- Consider program funding and administration;
- Consider interactions with existing programs such as the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP); and
- Report back to the Minister by January 1, 2017.
On December 29, 2016, the OEB provided its Report to the Minister.