Market surveillance panel

The Market Surveillance Panel monitors, investigates and reports on activities and behaviour in the IESO-administered markets in Ontario's electricity sector. IESO stands for Independent Electricity System Operator.

The Panel’s specific responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring activities and behaviour and recommending remedial action
  • Investigating market activities and the behaviour of specific energy companies or energy-related agencies (for example, if they are suspected of gaming or abusing their market power) and making recommendations related to the results of its investigations
  • Reporting on the results of its monitoring and investigations

Transfer from the IESO to the Ontario Energy Board

Under the Electricity Restructuring Act, 2004, the Market Surveillance Panel transferred to the Ontario Energy Board from the IESO, effective January 1, 2005.

Section 4.3.1 of the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 provides the statutory basis for the continuation of the Market Surveillance Panel, while Section 37 of the Electricity Act, 1998, establishes the Panel’s statutory powers of investigation. The mandate of the Panel is set out in Ontario Energy Board By-law #2 (pdf).

The Ontario Energy Board and the IESO Protocol

The Ontario Energy Board and the IESO have entered into a Protocol (pdf). Under the Protocol, the IESO's market assessment unit will continue to assist the Market Surveillance Panel, which is a Panel of the Ontario Energy Board.

The Protocol also provides for the Market Surveillance Panel to continue to assist and advise the IESO on various matters arising under the market rules and addresses issues relating to confidentiality and the exchange of information. The Protocol came into effect on April 25, 2005 for a period of one year. The Protocol was previously renewed for successive two-year or six-month terms, but as of May 1, 2017 it will be automatically renewed for successive two-year terms unless either Party gives notice of its intention not to renew.

Panel Members

The members of the Panel bring with them broad experience and expertise in economics, competition law, corporate governance, public policy and the electricity industry:

Ken Quesnelle was the Vice Chair of the Ontario Energy Board from February 2014 to September 2018, following a tenure of almost 9 years as a full-time Board Member. Prior to his appointment to the OEB, Mr. Quesnelle worked in various positions in the electricity distribution sector and is a past Chair of the Electricity Distributors Association. He has over 30 years of experience in the utility and municipal administration business, which includes electricity and water distribution as well as water supply and related environmental protection. Mr. Quesnelle is a past Chair of CAMPUT – Canada's Energy and Utility Regulators – and was a member of the International Confederation of Energy Regulators (ICER) and Chair of its Technology and Innovation working group. Mr. Quesnelle was also an Executive Committee member of the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Brian Rivard is appointed a member of the Market Surveillance Panel effective July 19, 2021. Brian is an Adjunct Professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University, and holds a PhD and a Master of Economics from the University of Western Ontario. His area of expertise and study is electricity market design and regulation. Brian has experience as an energy consultant, most recently as a Principal at Charles River Associates, and has provided expert testimony before the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Ontario Energy Board. Through his earlier work for the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) over almost 15 years, Brian helped support the development of market-based approaches to managing Ontario’s electricity system needs, and as the IESO’s Director of Markets was responsible for providing analysis of the impacts of changes to the IESO Market Rules, Market Design, government policies and other industry initiatives. Prior to that, Brian was a senior economist with the Canadian Competition Bureau for several years.

Information confidentiality

Section 4.3.1(8) of the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998, confirms that information that is held by the Market Surveillance Panel and that is designated by the Panel as “confidential” or “highly confidential” is confidential third party information for access to information purposes. Section 8.3.1 of the OEB Bylaw # 3 preserves the confidential or highly confidential status of documents or records so classified by the IESO prior to January 1, 2005. Some information relating to the confidentiality classification of market surveillance-related documents may no longer be available on the IESO website. To ensure that market participants do not lose access to this information, it is being posted on the OEB’s Market Surveillance Panel web pages.

The first item is the IESO’s Information Confidentiality Catalogue. The relevant parts of this document are page 67 (beginning at ID 469) to page 72 (ending at ID 691).

In order to put the above document in context, the market surveillance-related pages of the IESO’s Market Rules as at December 31, 2004 are available here. They can be found on pages 3-28 to 3-39 of Chapter 3 of the Market Rules.


What does the MSP monitor and investigate?

The MSP, with the support of the IESO's market assessment unit, monitors and investigates activities within the IESO-administered markets and the conduct of market participants relating to:

  • inappropriate market conduct, including possible abuses of market power and gaming
  • design flaws and inefficiencies in the market rules and other rules and procedures of the IESO
  • design flaws in the overall structure of the IESO-administered markets
How does the MSP monitor activities and market participant conduct in the IESO-administered markets?

The MSP is supported by the IESO's market assessment unit, which has developed a sophisticated surveillance data repository to monitor activities and market participant conduct in the IESO-administered markets. Internal and external data will be aggregated on a frequent and timely basis by the market surveillance system. This data is used as the first step to assess market activity and market participant conduct.

Does the Market Surveillance Panel have the authority to launch an investigation on its own?

The Market Surveillance Panel does not require prior concurrence when launching an investigation into any activity related to the IESO-administered markets or the conduct of a market participant.

Can market participants or other parties request the Market Surveillance Panel to launch an investigation?

Any person requesting an investigation into market activities or conduct may do so by setting out in writing:

  • the name and address of the complainant or person referring the matter
  • the particulars of the complaint or referral
  • any information or facts supporting the complaint or referral
  • the signature of the person making the complaint or referral or the signature of an officer or duly authorized representative of the person
Can the Market Surveillance Panel decide not to commence or terminate an investigation once a complaint or referral has been received?

The Market Surveillance Panel may refuse to commence or decide to terminate an investigation because the complaint or referral is either: frivolous, vexatious or not material, or because it is within the jurisdiction of another person, board, agency or tribunal. A decision by the Panel not to commence or continue an investigation is subject to review by the Chair of the OEB.

Where can I find out more information about local market power?

The IESO has a process in place to mitigate the effect of Local Market Power. Market Manual 2.12: Treatment of Local Market Power provides detailed information about the local market power mitigation process and the price screening mechanism used to determine compensation for power generators affected by congestion of the grid.

Are all market surveillance reports public documents?

Market surveillance reports will be published in accordance with the OEB's Bylaw #2. Reports may be edited to remove confidential information before being made public.

Where do I get more information?

For more information, contact OEB Industry Relations:

Tel:  416-440-7604 or 1-888-632-6273 (toll-free)


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