Reconsideration of DFO Contribution in Aid of Construction Policy

The Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) has initiated proceeding 29006 in response to the Alberta Court of Appeal (the Court) decision in AltaLink Management Ltd. v Alberta Utilities Commission, 2023 ABCA 325 (the Appeal Decision). The Court allowed the appeal of Decision 26061-D01-2021 in which the Commission determined that neither transmission facility owners (TFOs) or distribution facility owners (DFOs) would have the ability to receive a return on construction contributions.[1]



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ATCO PBR2 Plan Review – Evidence and Arguments

In proceeding 28300, the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) hears arguments for and against whether the plan for the second term of performance-based regulation (PBR2) of ATCO Gas and ATCO Electric (ATCO) was flawed; and if so, whether it is reasonable to re-open the plan. In proceeding 20414, the Commission set out a reopener provision allowing for the review of PBR plans if a utility’s return on equity (ROE) is 300 basis points above or below the approved ROE for two consecutive years, or if it is above or below 500 points in a single year. ATCO exceeded the 300-basis point threshold for 2021 and the 500-basis point threshold for 2022, triggering this current proceeding.[1]



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Commission’s Reconsideration Decision of ATCO’s Wood Buffalo Fire Z Factor Adjustment

In proceeding 28320, the Alberta Utilities Commission issues its decision regarding the reconsideration of the Z factor adjustment for the assets of ATCO Electric Ltd. (ATCO) which were destroyed in the 2016 Wood Buffalo fire. In Decision 21609-D01-2019, the Commission originally denied ATCO recovery of the net book value of the destroyed assets and ATCO was directed to remove the assets from its rate base. ATCO appealed the decision in ATCO Electric Ltd v Alberta Utilities Commission. The Alberta Court of Appeal (the Court) upheld ATCO’s appeal and then turned the initial decision back over to the Commission for reconsideration.



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Contributions in Aid of Construction Appeal

The Court of Appeal of Alberta (the Court) has issued its decision regarding the appeal of Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Decision 26061-D01-2021. The appeal was filed by AltaLink Management Ltd. (AltaLink), ATCO Electric Ltd., ENMAX Power Corporation, and EPCOR Distribution & Transmission Inc.  The crux of this appeal is the Commission’s treatment of contributions in aid of construction. In Decision 26061-D01-2021, the Commission disallowed transmission and distribution facility owners (TFOs and DFOs) from earning a return on contributions in aid of construction, despite affirming that the current practice was in line with the legislative framework. The utilities could then only treat the contributions as expenses in the year of disbursement because of the decision. The four DFOs filed an appeal with the Alberta court.[1]



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Micro-Gen Dispute Decision

In proceeding 28319, the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) issues its decision regarding the micro-generation dispute between ATCO Electric Ltd. (ATCO) and a farm. In June of 2023, the farm submitted a micro-generation application to ATCO and ATCO rejected the application on the basis that the generating capacity was too large relative to load. The crux of the disagreement was whether one year of history (ATCO’s position) or five years of history (the farm’s position) was sufficient to predict future load.



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The PBR3 Parameters

In Proceeding 27388, the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) sets the parameters of the third term of performance-based regulation (PBR3) in Alberta, which w ill be applied to the four following electric distribution utilities: ATCO Electric Ltd., FortisAlberta Inc. (Fortis), ENMAX Power Corporation, and EPCOR Distribution & Transmission Inc. (EPCOR); and the following two natural gas distribution utilities, ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd. and Apex Utilities Inc. In sum, PBR3 builds upon PBR2 but makes some key changes in how benefits and efficiencies are respectively provided and quantified going forward with the addition of an efficiency sharing mechanism and the removal of the efficiency carryover mechanism.



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Principles of Maximum Investment Levels (MILs) Decision

In proceeding 27658, the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) issues its decision on whether it remains reasonable for electric distribution utilities to invest in new residential customer connections up to a prescribed maximum investment level (MIL). Additionally, the Commission issues its decision on whether MILs related to street lighting installed in developments should be paid to the municipality within which the development was constructed or to the developer. Ultimately the Commission concludes the continuation of MILs, albeit under four new governing principles, and it decides that MILs should be paid to the municipalities in which a new development is constructed.[1]



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Reconsideration of ATCO Electric Z Factor for the Wood Buffalo Fire

In proceeding 28320, the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) reconsiders the Z factor adjustment of ATCO Electric (ATCO) for the 2016 Wood Buffalo fire. On April 14, 2023, the Alberta Court of Appeal issued its decision regarding ATCO Electric Ltd. v Alberta Utilities Commission, 2023 ABCA 129 (the Appeal decision) where ATCO sought to appeal the Commission’s denial of ATCO’s loss recovery associated with the 2016 fires. The Commission’s original decision relied on ATCO Gas & Pipelines Ltd. v Alberta (Energy & Utilities Board), 2006 SCC 4 (the Stores Block decision) in which the Commission understood that ‘extraordinary retirements’ of assets are attributable to shareholders rather than customers. However, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned the Commission’s decision (which depended on an interpretation and application of the Stores Block decision) and referred the matter back to the Commission.



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Micro-Generation Proposal Dispute

In Proceeding 28139, ATCO Electric Ltd. (ATCO) issued a notice of dispute over whether a micro-generation unit proposed by EvolvSolar meets the generator qualifications outlined in the Micro-Generation Regulation.

EvolvSolar and its client applied to ATCO to construct a solar system that would produce 296,667 kWh per year to power a farm grain drying process. ATCO did not approve the application because the site usage averaged only 204,600 kWh over the past two years (2021 and 2022). The Micro-Generation Regulation defines a micro-generation unit as one intended to meet all or a portion of the site’s annual energy consumption. ATCO, as the wires owner, believes the proposed project does not qualify as a micro-generation unit since it might produce more energy than what is consumed on site.[1]



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2024 GCOC Arguments

In proceeding 27084, interveners submit their arguments over the matters put forward by the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) regarding the generic cost of capital (GCOC). The Commission had already decided to proceed with a formulaic approach that was previously approved in 2009 and had asked interveners to provide recommendations for the formula’s variables. Interveners previously submited evidence detailing their variable recommendations and have since provided arguments supporting their evidence. However, some interveners continue to argue against the formulaic approach, and most proposed a specific return on equity (ROE) ratios for the 2024 GCOC.  A significant portion of argument focused on debating whether business risk has increased or decreased in the province and why the level of risk justifies each intervener’s proposal.



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