skip to main content
Back to all blog posts

Posted in: Practice & Procedure | British Columbia | Facilities

Jan 19, 2016

BC Hydro Responds to Complaint About Misleading Testimony at 2008 BCUC Hearing

By David Stevens

In December 2015, a complaint was made to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) alleging that BC Hydro had intentionally misled the BCUC about future plans (and associated costs) for its enterprise financial IT systems. This complaint, made by the NDP critic for BC Hydro (Adrian Dix), alleges that filings and testimony in a 2008 BCUC proceeding should have disclosed BC Hydro's decision to transition to a new and more expensive enterprise financial IT system. The complaint alleges that by the time that the case was heard, BC Hydro had changed course from its as-filed plans to upgrade its existing system rather than replace it. Based on the allegations made, the complainant asserts that BC Hydro and its management committed offences under section 106 of the BC Utilities Commission Act.

BC Hydro's President and CEO issued a prompt initial response to the complaint, indicating that BC Hydro takes the allegations very seriously, and is committed to ensuring that the highest standards of transparency are met in all of its regulatory proceedings. In this initial response, BC Hydro asserted that its final decision to move to a new enterprise financial IT system was not made until after the BCUC proceeding. However, BC Hydro acknowledged that more information should have been given during the hearing about the replacement option that was being considered and was emerging as a preferred option.

On January 8, 2016, BC Hydro filed its formal response to the complaint with the BCUC. The response has now been posted here. In the response, BC Hydro's President and CEO acknowledges that some of the testimony about the status of options being considered was misleading, and apologizes for failing to meet the standards that BC Hydro expects of itself in regulatory proceedings. However, BC Hydro maintains its position that no formal approved decision to pursue a different option had been made at the time of the BCUC proceedings, and strongly asserts that "the broad and inflammatory allegations made against [BC Hydro] are untrue." BC Hydro's response is summarized in a January 11, 2016 newspaper article.

There has not been any public statement from the BCUC about how or when it will respond to the complaint. In the event that the BCUC does not dismiss the complaint, one potential next step is to commence a prosecution alleging one or more offences under the Utilities Commission Act. Whatever next steps are chosen by the BCUC, it will be interesting to see whether the regulator addresses the question of how a utility should update its testimony and evidence as circumstances change after evidence has been filed, but before a proceeding is complete. This is an issue that arises relatively frequently given the long lead time between the filing and hearing dates for large rate applications.

 

*Please note that this is an updated version of an earlier post. The earlier post did not contain a link to BC Hydro's January 8, 2016 formal response to the BCUC, nor any discussion of the specific contents of that response.

Related Blogs

Posted in: Practice & Procedure | Ontario | Facilities

Insights EnergyInsider
OEB Selects EPCOR to Provide Gas Distribution Service to South Bruce Municipalities By David Stevens Apr 20, 2018 On April 12, 2018, the Ontario Energy Board issued a Decision and Order in a proceeding to select a gas distributor to serve South Bruce municipalities (Municipality of Arran-Elderslie, the Municipality of Kincardine and the Township of Huron-Kinloss). The OEB chose EPCOR Southern Bruce Gas Inc.,...

Posted in: Practice & Procedure | Ontario | Ratemaking | Energy Policy

Insights EnergyInsider
OEB Rejects Hydro One’s Proposed Acquisition of Orillia Power Distribution By David Stevens Apr 18, 2018 On April 12, 2018, the Ontario Energy Board issued a Decision and Order denying Hydro One Inc.’s application to purchase the shares of Orillia Power Distribution Corporation. The OEB’s Decision explains that Hydro One and Orillia Power have failed to establish that there will be no harm to Orilli...

Posted in: Practice & Procedure | Ontario | Energy Policy

Insights EnergyInsider
OEB Issues Draft Report on Corporate Governance Guidance for Regulated Utilities By Ron W. Clark and Dillon Collett Apr 12, 2018 On March 28, the Ontario Energy Board issued its Draft Report on Corporate Governance Guidance for Rate-Regulated Utilities. The OEB Draft Report is another milestone in the OEB’s efforts to develop a “Guidance” on corporate governance for regulated utilities; specifically, Ontario Power Generati...