Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report ““ Part 45: Ontario Energy Board Downgrading to Part-Time

The Ontario government is about to announce at least three new appointments to the Ontario Energy Board that will be part time positions. If true, this development would signal a significant weakening of the independence and authority of the Ontario Energy Board.

In the “Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report” Part 32, I addressed the weakened state of the Ontario Energy Board, concerns about the new chair of the Ontario Energy Board Rosemarie Leclair’s bias against consumers, and the need for strong full-time appointments to strengthen the agency.

“Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report” Part 42, reports on new evidence of Leclair’s bias.

“Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report” Part 43 develops in more detail why part-time appointments to the Ontario Energy Board would weaken the agency.

The independence and authority of public utility regulation is under threat across Canada, as governments muscle into the electricity sector to promote short-term political objectives. The most recent example is B.C., where earlier this week the provincial government cancelled rate hearings for BC Hydro in the runup to the next provincial election. Another prominent example of the erosion of regulatory authority is Newfoundland’s move toward deregulating the government’s energy utility Nalcor by removing public rate oversight over the cost of power from the government’s pet Muskrat Falls megaproject in Labrador. Ontario’s Green Energy Act is another example. The Green Energy Act amplified the power of the government to direct the decisions of once independent energy agencies, including the Ontario Energy Board.