The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) is primarily governed by the Utilities Commission Act and follows sections of the Clean Energy Act, Administrative Tribunals Act, Insurance Corporation Act, and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The BCUC also administers BC’s Fuel Price Transparency Act.
When reviewing applications, the BCUC exercises this authority to consider Intervener evidence, submissions, Letters of Comment, and government policy, as long it is within the BCUC’s mandate.
However, the BC government can participate in BCUC proceedings, establish new regulations, or provide direction that the BCUC must follow.
The BC government can intervene or submit a Letter of Comment in applications before the BCUC to put forward a particular viewpoint. Submissions could include a request that the BCUC consider a particular policy objective in a proceeding, for example.
Regulations address the details and practical applications of the law. They contain specific guidelines, definitions, and details, and have the force of law. The legislation that governs the BCUC defines who (e.g. BC Cabinet or a Minister) can make new regulations or change existing regulations.
Section 3(2) of the UCA allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council (i.e. BC Cabinet) to give directions instructing the BCUC on how to exercise its powers, perform its duties, or refrain from doing either, under the UCA. These directions are provided through an Order in Council (OIC), which directs the BCUC to take action or not take action on a specific task and can include a variety of directions.
The table below includes all directions the BCUC has received from the BC government. These can be searched by the following types:
Or change in regulation or legislation.
To explore public policy issues that require technical expertise and public input, issued under Section 5 of the UCA. The Order in Council (OIC) may contain terms of reference that define the scope and require that the BCUC hold public hearings and report its findings and recommendations to the BC government.
To exempt certain projects, organizations, expenditures, or programs from the BCUC’s review, which can be issued as an OIC or a Ministerial Order (MO).
To review only certain aspects of an application, minimize the scope of a hearing, or follow certain procedure to meet public policy objectives.
|Entity||Year||Category||Description||Corresponding Documents||Proceeding Page|
|BC Hydro and Power Authority||2019||Direction||The BC government by OIC 158 exempted applicable biomass contracts with BC Hydro from section 71(1)(b) or (3) of the Utilities Commission Act and directed the BCUC to set as the rate the rate schedule that was attached to the OIC as Appendix 1 within 10 days of receiving an application from BC Hydro.|
|BC Utilities Commission||2019||Inquiry||The BC government by OIC 254 requested the BCUC to launch an inquiry into gasoline and diesel prices in BC. Specifically, the inquiry investigated the factors influencing fuel prices since 2015 and price differences among BC and other jurisdictions in Canada, both retail and wholesale, as well as the mechanisms the BC government could use to moderate price fluctuations and increases.||British Columbia Utilities Commission An Inquiry into Gasoline and Diesel Prices in British Columbia|
|BC Utilities Commission||2019||Inquiry||The BC government by OIC 108 requested the BCUC to launch an Inquiry to advise the government on the appropriate nature and scope of regulation of indigenous utilities. Specifically, the inquiry needed to investigate the defining characteristics of indigenous utilities and determine whether they ought to be regulated under the Utilities Commission Act, a different mechanism, or remain unregulated, amongst other issues. The BC government by OIC 559 amended OIC 108 in respect of the date by which the final report must be submitted to the BC government.||
||British Columbia Utilities Commission Indigenous Utilities Regulation Inquiry|
|BC Utilities Commission||2019||Inquiry||The BC Government by OIC 470 amended OIC 254 and directed the BCUC to establish a 30-day comment period on the final report on the Gasoline and Diesel Prices in BC and issue a supplementary report summarizing those comments.||British Columbia Utilities Commission An Inquiry into Gasoline and Diesel Prices in British Columbia|
|Electric Vehicle Charging Service Providers||2019||Exemption||On the recommendation of the BCUC, the BC government by Ministerial Order M104 granted advance approval to the BCUC to exempt a person not otherwise a public utility from Part 3 of the Utilities Commission Act with respect to the sale, delivery or provision of electricity for EV charging services, except for sections 25 and 38 relating to safety only.||British Columbia Utilities Commission Inquiry into the Regulation of Electric Vehicle Charging Service|
|FortisBC Inc.||2019||Exemption||The BC government by MO M407 exempted from Section 71 of the Utilities Commission Act (UCA) Powerex and persons with whom it enters into an energy supply contract for the delivery of power services to Powerex. Certain sections of the Capacity and Energy Purchase and Sale Agreement between FortisBC Inc. and Powerex Corporation are exempt from regulation under the UCA.|
|Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District||2019||Exemption||On the recommendation of the BCUC, the BC government by MO M173 exempted the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District from the requirements of Part 3 of the Utilities Commission Act, except for section 22, in respect of its construction and operation of equipment at its NorthShore wastewater treatment plant that recovers heat energy from treated effluent, as well as the sale of this energy to the Lonsdale Energy Corporation, a district energy utility located in the City of North Vancouver.||The Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District Application for an Exemption from Part 3 of the Utilities Commission Act|
|Insurance Corporation of British Columbia||2019||Direction||The BC government by OIC 222 directed the ICBC to apply to the BCUC for certain specified rate amendments consequential to the ICBC 2018 Basic Insurance Rate Design Application.|
|Insurance Corporation of British Columbia||2019||Direction||The BC government by OIC 226 directed the BCUC to approve ICBC’s application made in accordance with OIC 222.|
|NorthRiver Midstream Operations LP and NorthRiver||2019||Exemption||On the recommendation of the BCUC, the BC government by MO M211 exempted NorthRiver Midstream Operations LP (as owner) and NorthRiver Midstream Operations GP Inc. (as operator) from the requirements of Part 3 of the Utilities Commission Act in respect of the transmission and processing of natural gas for others as it relates to a list of exempted facilities.||NorthRiver Midstream Operations LP (NRLP) and NorthRiver Midstream Operations GP Inc. (NRGP) Application for an Exemption Pursuant to Section 88(3) of the Utilities Commission Act|
|BC Hydro and Power Authority||2018||Direction||The BC government by OIC 512 directed the BCUC to issue an order to BC Hydro amending Rate Schedules 1823 (Transmission Service Step Rate), 1825 (Transmission Service Time of Use Rate), 1827 (Transmission Service – Rate for Exempt Customers), and 1852 (Transmission Service Modified Demand) respecting transmission service to Liquefied Natural Gas Customers.|
|BC Hydro and Power Authority||2018||Regulation||The BC Government by MO M277 amended the Transmission Upgrade Exemption Regulation by adding an exemption from Part 3 of the Utilities Commission Act to BC Hydro in respect of the construction or operation of a plant or system, or their upgrade or extension, to provide service to an LNG facility or a facility required for the construction of an LNG facility in the vicinity of the District of Kitimat.|