Blog Post

Update on OEB Measures to Address the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Overview

We have written about a number of steps taken by the Ontario Energy Board to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (see here and here). The OEB continues to move forward with COVID-19 measures.

On August 7, 2020, the OEB issued a decision and order amending the licences of all electricity distributors and unit sub-meter providers to support the implementation of the Ontario government’s new COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for small business (CEAP-SB). The licence amendments set out detailed requirements for delivery of CEAP-SB to eligible small business and registered charity organization customers by the distributors and unit sub-meter providers. Among other things, the licence amendments provide for CEAP-SB applications to be accepted starting as of August 31, 2020, complete application forms to be processed in the order in which they are received and complete application forms to be processed within 10 business days of receipt. The August 7 decision and order can be seen here.

On August 7, the OEB also issued a letter to four natural gas distributors setting out its expectations for delivery of CEAP-SB to small business and registered charity customers by the gas distributors. The letter referred to the amendments made to the licences of electricity distributors and unit sub-meter providers and indicated that, generally, gas distributors should follow procedures similar to those that apply to the electricity sector. It set out in detail the OEB’s expectations and conditions for delivery of CEAP-SB by the gas distributors. The August 7 letter can be seen here.

On August 6, the OEB issued a COVID-19 Forgone Revenue Rate Rider Model and associated accounting guidance to assist those distributors that wish to seek recovery of forgone revenue arising as a result of the postponed implementation of 2020 rates due to the COVID-19 emergency. The OEB’s view is that a separate sub-account for forgone revenues due to postponing rate implementation will allow for greater clarity and transparency of amounts recorded for this type of forgone revenue and the potential recovery of it. Accordingly, the OEB established a new sub-account called Forgone Revenues from Postponing Rate Implementation and directed that foregone revenue amounts due to postponing rate implementation be recorded in the new sub-account, instead of the Lost Revenues sub-account previously established by the OEB. The OEB’s August 6 accounting order can be seen here.