Decisions

Learn how we make decisions and what factors we consider
Participate

The Ontario Energy Board regulates your local electricity and natural gas utility. Part of our role is to consider the requests utilities make for changes to the rates and charges you pay for the delivery of electricity and natural gas. Before we make a decision about these requests, we factor in all the questions, concerns and arguments of people like you, as well as small businesses, intervenors and our staff to ensure our decisions are made in the public interest.

How we make decisions

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
  • Review the report filed after a community meeting (which can include questions asked and comments made by local residents and small business owners)
  • Review and consider input from public interest groups – called intervenors – at a hearing
  • 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.
Make your opinion count

Visit the current rate applications page to learn the facts and comment on specific applications:

  • See what your utility is asking for and why, and provide your comments online
  • Find out when upcoming community meetings and hearings are being held so that you can attend
  • Read documents related to the case

2019 Rate Decisions

Decision Summary
Enbridge Gas Inc. (Enbridge) applied to the OEB to increase its natural gas rates to recover costs associated with the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (the Federal Carbon Act). Among other things, the Federal Carbon Act requires Enbridge to pay a carbon charge to the federal government for volumes of natural gas that it delivers to customers beginning April 1, 2019. Enbridge’s application covers customers of both the former Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. and the former Union Gas Limited, as these two companies amalgamated on Jan. 1, 2019.

The OEB generally found Enbridge’s application reasonable and approved it with only a few modifications.

In the first year that the federal carbon charge is in effect, the bill of a typical residential customer within the rate zones of the former Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. and Union Gas Limited is estimated to increase by the amounts shown in the table below. The actual bill impact for customers will vary depending on how much natural gas they use. Charges related to the Federal Carbon Act may start appearing on customer bills starting August 1, 2019.

Rate Zone Residential Annual Bill Increase
Enbridge $93.93
Union South $86.21
Union North East and Union North West $86.18

The OEB has also directed Enbridge on where charges arising from the Federal Carbon Act are to appear on customer bills, and is requiring Enbridge to include a related message on bills for a period of six months.

Decision Summary
EPCOR Natural Gas Limited Partnership (EPCOR) applied to the OEB to increase its natural gas rates to recover costs associated with the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (the Federal Carbon Act). Among other things, the Federal Carbon Act requires EPCOR to pay a carbon charge to the federal government for volumes of natural gas that it delivers to customers beginning April 1, 2019.

The OEB generally found EPCOR’s application reasonable. 

In the first year that the federal carbon charge is in effect, the bill of a typical residential customer of EPCOR is estimated to increase by $69.63. The actual bill impact for customers will vary depending on how much natural gas they use. Charges related to the Federal Carbon Act may start appearing on customer bills starting August 1, 2019.

The OEB has also directed EPCOR on where charges arising from the Federal Carbon Act are to appear on customer bills, and is requiring EPCOR to include a related message on bills for a period of six months..

 

2018 Rate Decisions

Decision Summary
Erie Thames Powerlines Corporation (Erie Thames Powerlines) serves approximately 18,500 customers in the municipalities of Port Stanley, Aylmer, Belmont, Ingersoll, Thamesford, Otterville, Norwich Burgessville, Beachville, Embro, Tavistock, Mitchell, Dublin and Clinton.

Erie Thames Powerlines filed a settlement proposal on all issues in the proceeding with the OEB on October 4, 2018 that had been agreed to by Erie Thames Powerlines and intervenors in the proceeding. The OEB approved the rates that arose from the settlement proposal. Rates were effective and implemented on January 1, 2019. For a typical residential customer with monthly consumption of 750 kWh, the total bill increased by about $1.60 before taxes per month, or an increase of 1.5%.

Decision Summary
Essex Powerlines provides electricity distribution services to approximately 30,000 customers in the Town of LaSalle, the Town of Amherstburg, the Town of Tecumseh, and the Municipality of Leamington.

Essex Powerlines applied to the OEB for approval of approximately $12.5 million in revenue (later adjusted to approximately $13 million) to be recovered from its customers through its electricity distribution rates for 2018, effective May 1, 2018, and for approval of the rates to recover that amount. A settlement conference was attended by Essex Powerlines and the OEB-approved intervenors in this proceeding. Essex Powerlines filed a partial settlement proposal indicating that the parties had reached an agreement with respect to all but one issue and setting out the terms of that agreement. The parties agreed to a revenue requirement of approximately $12.35 million, and the settlement proposal was considered and approved by the OEB.

The unsettled issue related to the recovery of a net amount of $1.8 million that Essex Powerlines had mistakenly credited to its customers twice. The OEB allowed Essex Powerlines to correct the duplicate credit, but did not allow Essex Powerlines to collect interest on that amount on the basis that Essex Powerlines should not be allowed to recover accrued interest resulting from its own error.

Based on the OEB’s Final Rate Order, and when adjustments in other parts of the overall bill are taken into account, it is estimated that for a typical residential customer with monthly consumption of 750 kWh, the total bill will decrease by about $1.31 per month, a decrease of about 1.17%, before taxes.

Decision Summary
PUC Distribution provides electricity distribution services to approximately 33,000 residential and commercial customers in the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Township of Prince, Rankin Reserve, and the Township of Dennis.

PUC Distribution and the intervenors in this proceeding participated in a settlement conference and filed a settlement proposal with the OEB on September 14, 2018, in which the parties reached settlement on all issues in the proceeding. The OEB approves the rates that arise from the settlement proposal. For a typical residential customer with monthly consumption of 750 kWh, the total bill will increase by about $2.39 per month, an increase of about 2.45%.

Decision Summary
Sioux Lookout Hydro Inc. serves approximately 2,800 customers in the Municipality of Sioux Lookout, including the communities of Hudson, Benedickson and Pickerel. 

Sioux Lookout Hydro filed an application on August 27, 2017 (updated January 8, 2018) for 2018 rates. With Sioux Lookout Hydro’s consent, the 2018 rebasing application was used to pilot and test the OEB’s proportionate review approach. Under the proportionate review approach, OEB staff used a number of different tools and analysis techniques to develop a recommendation for the appropriate process that the OEB should use to address the requests set out in the application. OEB staff also considered comments made by Sioux Lookout Hydro’s customers at the community meeting held on November 7, 2017 in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, and through letters of comment. The OEB issued a Decision on Scope of Review after considering the evidentiary record and OEB staff’s recommendation.

The Scoping Decision, amongst other things, determined that, with limited exceptions, the outcomes arising from Sioux Lookout Hydro’s proposals set out in its application adequately reflect the public interest, are in accordance with OEB policy, and result in just and reasonable rates for customers. 

The Scoping Decision set out the five issues that were to be the subject of an abridged hearing process. OEB staff filed written argument on these five issues and SLHI filed a reply submission. The OEB’s decision on the five issues identified in the Scoping Decision are set out in the full Decision and Order.

Decision Summary
Westario Power provides electricity distribution services to approximately 23,500 residential and commercial customers in 15 communities in Bruce, Grey and Wellington counties.

Westario Power applied to the OEB for approval of approximately $11 million in revenue to be recovered from its customers through electricity distribution rates for 2018, effective May 1, 2018, and for approval of the rates to recover that amount. A settlement conference was attended by Westario Power and the OEB-approved intervenors. The parties reached an agreement on all issues in the proceeding and filed a settlement proposal with the OEB. The parties agreed to the recovery of approximately $10.7 million, and the settlement proposal was considered and approved by the OEB.

Based on the OEB’s Final Rate Order, it is estimated that for a typical residential customer with monthly consumption of 750 kWh, the total bill will increase by about $3.87 per month, an increase of about 3.6%, before taxes.

 

2018 Mergers, Acquisitions, Amalgamations & Divestitures (MAADs) Decisions

Decision Summary
Alectra Utilities Corporation (Alectra Utilities) and Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. (Guelph Hydro) (collectively, the Applicants) filed an application to the OEB on March 3, 2018, to amalgamate and to continue as Alectra Utilities.

The Applicants estimated the total quantified savings from synergies before transaction costs to be $40.88 million, which includes $37.04 million of OM&A savings and $3.84 million of capital savings. The Applicants estimated total transaction costs to be $14.27 million, which results in net total savings of $26.61 million over the 10-year period.

The Applicants stated that the OM&A costs savings were expected to result primarily from reductions in labour, reductions in audit, legal and consulting expenses, and reductions in Board of Directors expenses. The capital savings over the initial 10-year period result mainly from the integration of common information systems, specialized equipment and fleet vehicles.

The OEB determined that the Applicants satisfied the "no harm" test with respect to price, cost effectiveness and economic efficiency. The evidence demonstrated that the underlying cost structures to serve acquired customers following the proposed merger would not be higher than they otherwise would have been. 

The OEB has approved the application.

Decision Summary
ERTH Power Corporation (EPC), a wholly owned subsidiary of ERTH Corporation, has a distribution system that serves approximately 19,156 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the communities of Port Stanley, Aylmer, Belmont, Ingersoll, Thamesford, Otterville, Norwich, Burgessville, Beachville, Embro, Tavistock, Mitchell, Dublin and Clinton.

West Coast Huron Energy Inc. (WCHEI), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Town of Goderich, has a distribution system that serves approximately 3,745 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the Town.

EPC and WCHEI filed an application with the OEB requesting the approval of 2 transactions that would allow WCHEI to amalgamate with EPC and continue as a single local distribution company, together with related relief.

After holding a hearing on the application, the OEB approved the proposed transaction. The OEB applied its “no harm” test in assessing the application and concluded that the proposed amalgamation meets that test. The OEB’s focus was on price, reliability and quality of service to customers, and the cost effectiveness, economic efficiency and financial viability of the applicants. The OEB found that: 

  • the applicants have explicitly identified realistic future costs that will be avoided due to the amalgamation of EPC and WCHEI; 
  • the consolidated distributor will have the capacity to maintain acceptable service levels post-amalgamation; and
  • the amalgamation is not expected to adversely affect the financial viability of the Applicants or the amalgamated entity.

 

Decision Summary
In September of 2016, Hydro One filed an application to acquire all of the shares of Orillia Power Distribution Corp. 

As part of the proposed share acquisition, Hydro One and Orillia Power requested approval for several related proposals, including: (a) a 1 percent reduction in Orillia Power’s residential and general service customers base distribution rates for the first 5 years of the proposed 10-year deferred rebasing period, from the closing of the transaction; (b) transfer of Orillia Power’s rate order to Hydro One; (c) transfer of Orillia Power’s distribution system to Hydro One; (d) cancellation of Orillia Power’s electricity distributor licence; and (e) amendment of Hydro One’s electricity distributor licence. The OEB assigned the application file number EB-2016-0276.

The OEB was not satisfied that a list of forecast cost savings from the acquisition automatically resulted in overall cost structures for the customers of the acquired utility that are no higher than they would be without the consolidation. Hydro One failed to make the case that the OEB can be assured that the underlying cost structures would be no greater than they would have been absent the acquisition. 

The OEB was not satisfied that the no harm test was met, and on this basis the application has been denied.

Decision Summary
Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution Ltd. (NT Power) and Midland Power Utility Corporation (Midland Power) filed an application for OEB approval for NT Power to acquire the distribution system of Midland Power, buy all of the shares of Midland Power and to amalgamate the two companies.  NT Power would buy the shares of Midland Power for $27.6 million, which consisted of a cash payment of approximately $22 million, the assumption of Midland Power’s $5.6 million debt and an additional $0.2 million for Midland Power’s transaction costs and expenses. The applicants agreed that the consolidated utility, NT Power, would defer rebasing and harmonizing its rates for a 10-year period.

In reviewing applications for utility mergers the OEB considers the cumulative effect of the transaction on the attainment of the OEB’s statutory objectives, which include the interests of  consumers with respect to price, reliability and quality of electricity service. If the proposed transaction has a positive or neutral effect on its statutory objectives and there is "no harm," the OEB will approve the application.   

The OEB accepted the applicants’ statements that the merger would result in cost savings that ultimately benefit customers, and that the level of service experienced by customers can be maintained by the merged entity. 

The OEB concluded that the transaction proposed by NT Power and Midland Power met the “no harm” test and approved the applicants’ requests. 

Decision Summary
Thunder Bay Hydro Electricity Distribution Inc. (Thunder Bay Hydro) has a distribution system that serves more than 50,700 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the City of Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation Reserve. 

Kenora Hydro Electric Corporation Ltd. (Kenora Hydro) has a distribution system that serves approximately 5,600 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the City of Kenora. 

Thunder Bay Hydro and Kenora Hydro filed an application with the OEB for approval of a proposed transaction that would allow Thunder Bay Hydro and Kenora Hydro to amalgamate and continue as one corporation, together with related relief.

After holding a hearing on the application, the OEB approved the proposed transaction. The OEB applied its “no harm” test in assessing the application and concluded that the proposed amalgamation meets that test. The OEB’s focus was on price, reliability and quality of service to customers, and the cost effectiveness, economic efficiency and financial viability of the applicants. The OEB found that: 

  • the evidence showed that the underlying cost structures to serve customers following the amalgamation are expected to be no higher than they otherwise would have been; 
  • the way in which the applicants propose to provide service in the areas served by Thunder Bay Hydro and Kenora Hydro will be effective in continuing existing levels of service; and 
  • the amalgamation will not have an adverse impact on the financial viability of the applicants.

 

Decision Summary
Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. (Enbridge Gas) and Union Gas Limited (Union Gas), jointly referred to as the applicants, filed an application on November 2, 2017 with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) for approval to effect the amalgamation of Enbridge Gas and Union Gas into a single company referred to as Amalco. 

The OEB concludes that the amalgamation meets the "no harm" test. The OEB therefore grants leave to the applicants to amalgamate Enbridge Gas and Union Gas into a single company. The OEB is satisfied that the amalgamation will result in underlying costs of service that are no greater than they would have been for the separate companies.

Enbridge Gas is a rate-regulated gas distribution, storage and transmission company serving more than 2.1 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in 121 franchise areas of central and eastern Ontario, including the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the Niagara Peninsula, Ottawa, Brockville, Peterborough and Barrie. Its head office is in Toronto and it has approximately 2,100 employees.

Union Gas is a rate-regulated natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company serving about 1.5 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 400 communities across northern, southwestern and eastern Ontario. Its head office is within the municipality of Chatham-Kent and it has approximately 2,300 employees.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent was an intervenor in this proceeding and argued that certain measures should be in place to mitigate possible employment loss in the region.

Union Gas and Enbridge Gas made the following 4 commitments in a letter in March 2018, and proposed that they be adopted by the OEB as condition of approval for the amalgamation. 

The OEB has approved these conditions during the deferred rebasing period.

  1. Amalco shall ensure that for the next 5 years, any employment impacts resulting from the amalgamation will be managed evenly between the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and the City of Toronto;
  2. To the extent that Centres of Excellence are created in either Chatham-Kent or Toronto, the Centres of Excellence shall reflect a range of skills and compensation levels, including leadership roles;
  3. Employment within the municipality of Chatham-Kent shall reflect a mixture of entry, middle and senior level roles; and
  4. Amalco will commit to a process of regular communication and engagement with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent in respect of the amalgamation and its related impacts and opportunities.

The OEB concludes that the amalgamation meets the "no harm" test.

In determining that the amalgamation meets the "no harm" test, the OEB has focused on the objectives that are of most direct relevance to the impact of the proposed transaction; namely, reliability and quality of gas service, financial viability and price.

Decision Summary
Veridian Connections Inc. (Veridian Connections) has a distribution system that serves approximately 120,500 residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and other customers. Veridian Connections is licensed to provide electricity distribution services in Pickering, Ajax, Clarington, Uxbridge, Port Hope, Brock, Scugog, Belleville, and Gravenhurst. 

Whitby Hydro Electric Corporation (Whitby Hydro) has a distribution system that serves approximately 42,500 residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and other customers. Whitby Hydro is licensed to provide electricity distribution services in the Town of Whitby.

Veridian Connections and Whitby Hydro filed an application with the OEB requesting approval of two proposed transactions that would allow Veridian Connections and Whitby Hydro to amalgamate and continue as one corporation, together with related relief. 

After holding a hearing on the application, the OEB approved the proposed transaction. The OEB applied its “no harm” test in assessing the application and concluded that the proposed amalgamation meets that test. The OEB’s focus was on price, reliability and quality of service to customers, and the cost effectiveness, economic efficiency and financial viability of the applicants. The OEB found that: 

  • the applicants have explicitly identified realistic future costs that will be avoided due to the amalgamation of Veridian Connections and Whitby Hydro; 
  • the amalgamated distributor will have the capacity to maintain acceptable service levels post-amalgamation; and 
  • the amalgamation will not have an adverse impact on the financial viability of the applicants.