Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 109: Oops, OEB Breaks the Law Again

Having made a mockery of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) Act and its associated governance rules with respect to the lack of a statutorily required complement of two vice chairs and the lack of a required COO position, all of which have been documented in previous posts in this series, the OEB has found a new way to flaunt the rules.

The OEB operates pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Minister of Energy. The MOU is not a formal regulation but it does have a statutory basis under the OEB Act. Section 4.6(1) of the OEB Act requires that every three years, the chair of the Board, on behalf of the Board and its management committee, and the Minister shall enter into a memorandum of understanding setting out the roles and responsibilities of the Minister and the Board.

The current MOU was signed March 11, 2010 and has been expired for a little over 13 months.

I have been complaining on this site and Twitter since early February that the OEB had not published an Annual Report since 2010-11. I notice that sometime in recent days that Annual Reports for 2011-12 and 2012-13 are now published on the Board’s site. Better late than never.

The derelict condition of the OEB’s governance is a symptom of the moldering in every corner of Ontario’s energy sector touched by the current Liberal government. Functional, expert, independent, and fair public utility regulation is obviously not a priority for the Wynne government. Until the OEB gets cleaned up, it seems likely that some party disadvantaged by a decision of the Board might seek the protection of judicial review.

Post Script July 28, 2014: Still no sign of an MOU that complies with the law.
Post Script September 10, 2014: Still no sign of an MOU that complies with the law.