OEB Allows Review Motions in Hydro One/Orillia Power Proceeding
In August 2017, we wrote about a Procedural Order issued by the Ontario Energy Board in which the OEB adjourned the hearing of an application (“MAADs” application) by Hydro One Inc. for approval to acquire Orillia Power Distribution Corporation until a decision on Hydro One’s distribution rate application has been rendered. In the Procedural Order, the OEB said that it considered evidence filed in Hydro One’s distribution rate application to be relevant to the Hydro One/Orillia Power proceeding.
On January 4, 2018, the OEB issued a decision allowing motions by Hydro One and Orillia Power to review and vary the Procedural Order. One ground for the decision to allow the review motions was procedural fairness, because, according to the reviewing panel of the OEB, Hydro One and Orillia Power did not have the opportunity to explore thoroughly the relevance of the distribution rate application to the MAADs application before the Procedural Order was issued. A second ground for the decision was new evidence filed in support of the review motion (and not available when the Procedural Order was issued) regarding the potential impact of a lengthy delay in the MAADs application.
The reviewing OEB panel referred the matter back to the panel hearing the MAADs application because the latter panel is in the best position to continue hearing the MAADs application and to re-open the record if it becomes necessary to seek additional information or clarification in areas relevant to that proceeding. These areas, the reviewing panel said, could include issues such as whether the outcome of Hydro One’s distribution rate application will provide relevant information about the effect of the proposed acquisition on customers of Orillia Power and the significance of a delay in the determination of the MAADs application balanced against the evidence that may be obtained as a result of such delay.