Electricity and natural gas utilities can only make changes to the portion of your energy bill called delivery if we approve the changes first. In general, a utility applies for a full review of its rates every 5 years. We review these major rate requests carefully, and our review often results in a different amount than the original request. For the years in between, the utility's rates are adjusted using a formula.
We ask utilities to file documents called rate applications that outline all of their costs — from trucks and buildings to proposed investments in infrastructure, like pipelines and wires, and their plans to maintain it.
Not all applications are about rate changes. If a utility wants to merge with another utility, or construct a new pipeline or electricity line of a certain size, for example, it has to file an application with the Ontario Energy Board to seek permission. To see a list of all applications, visit Applications before the OEB.
Watch for information about major applications in your local newspaper, here on our website and on the utility’s website. Visit our current major applications page to learn the facts about a specific application and decide whether you want to get involved:
- See how your rates would change as a result of an application if it were approved
- See documents related to the case
- Provide your comments online
- See other types of applications that may impact consumers, like utility mergers or construction of new pipes and wires
How the application process works
Once their application is filed, our job, as Ontario’s independent energy regulator, is to consider how well the utility’s interests align with your interests. Specifically, we are looking for evidence of reasonable prices, good reliability and quality service so that we can be sure Ontario’s energy system is meeting your needs, while also remaining financially viable.
Before making a decision we:
- Thoroughly review the utility’s application.
- Read and consider the questions and concerns expressed in letters of comment from consumers.
- Have a public hearing process for most major applications. Depending on the type of application, hearings are either written or face-to-face (called oral hearings) – a bit like a court proceeding. Currently due to COVID-19, oral hearings are being conducted virtually. Check our online calendar to find out when oral hearings are held and you can listen to streaming audio of the live hearing. Also, you can read a transcript of the hearing afterwards – usually the next day.
- Review and consider input from public interest groups – called intervenors – during the hearing. Intervenors are individuals or groups who have our permission to actively participate in a public hearing about a utility’s application. Intervenors represent various customer groups such as low-income consumers, school boards and commercial and industrial customers. They also sometimes represent special interests such as environmental and conservation groups. Find out who frequent intervenors are in OEB hearings.
- Look at the questions, evidence and arguments of our staff – the Ontario Energy Board’s in-house experts – on topics like economics, engineering, accounting, finance and a host of other subjects that often come up in our hearings. Our staff gives careful consideration to each application, asks hard questions and helps focus our attention on issues that our decision-makers need to consider.
We take all of this input into consideration before making a decision. Decisions are posted on our website. View a list of major decisions issued by the OEB.