“Special Feature: Experts weigh in on Bill 75 and the OPA-IESO merger”
In a special feature in its June issue, IPPSO FACTO, the magazine of the Association of Power Producers of Ontario, sought the opinion of a wide range of experts in various fields – legal, finance, environment, customer representatives, distributors and academia, on the import of Bill 75 and the expected merger of the OPA and the IESO.
Paul Manning is among the experts quoted in the article. The following is an extract of what he had to say. The full article may be viewed at: Experts weigh in on Bill 75 and the OPA-IESO merger
Paul Manning offered a further, distinctive perspective that involves the Ontario Energy Board as well. In his experience – Manning spends much of his time acting as counsel for participants in Board hearings – there is already a degree of blurring between some of the functions of the (presently) three agencies in practice, and under the Bill it’s likely to get more so. More important, in Manning’s view, than the merger of the two organizations is the abrogation by Bill 75 of
- The OPA’s power and duty to develop an IPSP for approval by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB); and
- The OEB’s power and duty to review that plan for economic prudence, cost effectiveness and regulatory compliance.
“In so doing,” he says, “the Government’s energy plan is removed from public scrutiny in a proceeding before the Board in which stakeholders can participate. Bill 75 replaces the IPSP with Ministerial “energy plans”. The Minister must consult with the OEB on the impact of the energy plan on a consumer’s electricity bill and on methods of managing that impact. The Minister must also refer the plan to the OEB for review of the estimated capital costs in the plan in accordance with the referral. This is a far cry from the independent review that was required by the Board of the IPSP. It deprives stakeholders the ability to test the government’s energy and procurement plans and the consequent effect of those plans on rates. It continues a trend, that was already apparent before Bill 75, for government to exert control of the activities of the OPA and the OEB by a combination of policy imperatives and directives.