Today the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) issued its Decision and Order on an application filed by Hydro One Networks Inc. (Hydro One) on August 5, 2021 seeking approval for changes to the rates it charges for electricity transmission and distribution, beginning January 1, 2023 and for each subsequent year through to December 31, 2027.
The proceeding resulted in the filing of a settlement proposal that the OEB has now approved after concluding that it is in the public interest.
The negotiated reductions in Hydro One’s transmission and distribution revenue requirements over the 2023 to 2027 period total $482.7 million compared to the requests made by Hydro One in its application.
The OEB found that the reductions in Hydro One’s proposed capital expenditure and operating, maintenance and administration costs were reasonable, and should not compromise the safety and reliability of Hydro One’s transmission and distribution systems. It also concluded that the estimated bill impacts for both transmission and distribution customers are reasonable, and that the January 1, 2023 implementation and effective date of the new rates is appropriate.
This proceeding related to both transmission and distribution operations.
The new transmission revenue requirement will affect Ontario electricity consumers across the province because it will be incorporated into updated transmission rates, which are paid by electricity distributors and other large consumers connected directly to the transmission system, and distributors then pass this cost on to their customers.
As a result of the settlement approved on the transmission portion of the application, it is estimated that for a typical Hydro One residential customer with a monthly consumption of 750 kWh, the total bill impact averaged over the 2023-2027 period will be an increase of $0.69 per month or 0.5%.
The new OEB-approved distribution rates will affect Hydro One’s distribution customers.
As a result of the settlement reached on the distribution portion of the application, it is estimated that for a typical residential distribution customer of Hydro One with a monthly consumption of 750 kWh, the total bill impact averaged over the 2023-2027 period will be an increase of $2.43 per month or 1.5%.
This proceeding included 24 approved intervenors representing a wide variety of customer classes and other interests. Representatives of 18 of those intervenors participated in the settlement conference. Having this diversity of perspective enriches the already thorough examination of evidence and argument that the OEB routinely undertakes when considering an application.
Other features of the settlement proposal include:
- A commitment by Hydro One to include, in future operational and capital investment plans, a discussion of how the proposed spending will directly support the achievement of Hydro One’s climate change policy.
- Eliminating further updates to reflect changes to inflation in 2022 and 2023 as originally proposed, to provide Hydro One’s customers with greater certainty as to the potential impacts of inflation on their bills.
- Increases in the productivity factors and supplemental stretch factors for both the distribution and transmission business segments which will provide Hydro One with additional incentives to achieve greater efficiencies during the 2023 to 2027 period.
- Undertaking certain measures to seek economic participation or equity investment opportunities from First Nations.
- Disposition of net credit balances in deferral and variance accounts (DVAs) owed to customers will be returned over a shorter period of time:
- Transmission DVA – $22.5M over a one-year period in 2023 (versus five years)
- Distribution DVA – $85.9M over a three-year period – 2023-2025 (versus five years)
- Undertaking certain measures to continue examining cost-effective transmission and distribution line losses
In the decision, the OEB acknowledged the efforts involved by parties to participate in this entire proceeding, including the settlement conference, considering the number of participants, the complexity of the issues, and the challenging logistics of a “virtual” proceeding. The OEB commended the parties and OEB staff for achieving a comprehensive settlement on all issues.
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About the OEB
The OEB is the independent regulator of Ontario’s electricity and natural gas sectors. It protects the interests of consumers and supports the collective advancement of the people of Ontario. Its goal is to deliver public value through prudent regulation and independent adjudicative decision-making which contributes to Ontario’s economic, social and environmental development.