AltaLink 2024-2025 GTA: Wildfire Mitigation and Salvage Expenditure Arguments

In proceeding 28174, the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) approved the negotiated settlement of AltaLink Management Ltd. (AltaLink) on all issues except for those matters related to AltaLink’s wildfire mitigation plan and its salvage expenditures. Parties recently delivered their arguments regarding these outstanding issues, which focused on AltaLink’s newly proposed wildfire mitigation programs and its forecast salvage expenditures calculation.



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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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AltaLink 2024-2025 NSA Application

In proceeding 28174, AltaLink Management Inc. (AltaLink) applies to the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) for the approval of a negotiated settlement agreement (NSA). The NSA was made between AltaLink, the Alberta Direct Connect Customers, the Consumers’ Coalition of Alberta (CCA), the Alberta Federation of REA’s Ltd. (AFREA), the Industrial Power Consumers Association of Alberta (IPCAA), and the Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA).

The Commission permitted a negotiated settlement process on all but the following two matters:[1]

  • AltaLink’s proposed wildfire deferral account.
  • AltaLink’s request to recover $11 million in returns incurred over the 2022-2023 period that apply to 2019-2021 actual salvage expenditures.

Additionally, parties involved in the negotiated settlement agreed to exclude three additional matters that are closley related to the two excluded by the Commission:[2]

  • AltaLink’s 2024-2025 forecast salvage expenditures.
  • AltaLink’s 2019-2023 actual salvage expenditures.
  • AltaLink’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan business cases.

The NSA also did not result in any changes to AltaLink’s terms and conditions.[3]



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The AESO’s Revised AMP Implementation Plan Application

In Proceeding 28441, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) applies to the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) for approval of its revised adjusted metering practice (AMP) implementation plan. In Decision 27047-D01-2022, the Commission denied approving the AESO’s previous AMP implementation plan and directed that if the AESO wanted to file another application, it would need to include:

  • AACE Class 3 estimates and forecast completion date for all scopes of work proposed in the implementation plan,
  • AACE Class 5 estimates for the total theoretical maximum cost of implementation across all phases; and
  • Quantification of the benefits of AMP implementation, including a cost-benefit analysis.

With these requirements in mind, the AESO submitted its revised application.



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Decision on ENMAX’s 2023-2025 Transmission General Tariff Application

In proceeding 27581, the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) issues its decision regarding the 2023-2025 Transmission General Tariff Application of ENMAX Energy Corporation (ENAMX) in which ENMAX entered a negotiated settlement with interveners. The Commission notes that this decision was originally supposed to have been released in July of 2023, but was delayed after it was learned that ENMAX was being investigated by Commission Enforcement staff regarding the year-end capitalization of certain distribution and transmission projects. The investigation is ongoing, but the Commission understands that the investigation results are unlikely to have a material impact on this decision.[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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ATCO Electric’s 2023-2025 General Tariff Application Decision

In Proceeding 27062, the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) decides on the 2023-2025 General Tariff Application of ATCO Electric Ltd. (ATCO). The Commission allowed ATCO and interveners to enter a negotiated settlement process on all matters except for the Vegetation Management reserve removal and modifications to ATCO’s Variable Pay Program reserve. Parties were also unable to agree on the treatment of the $7.5 million undepreciated balance for ATCO’s Jasper Palisades isolated generation plant. Therefore, the Commission dealt with these three issues separately from the negotiated settlement.[1]



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EPCOR’s 2023-2025 General Tariff Application Decision

In proceeding 27675, the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) issues its decision regarding the 2023-2025 general tariff application (GTA) of EPCOR Transmission & Distribution Inc. (EPCOR). Rather than proceed through an argument process, EPCOR negotiated a settlement with the Consumer’s Coalition of Alberta (CCA) and the Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA). After review, the Commission approves EPCOR’s 2023-2025 GTA, which includes the negotiated settlement reduction of $10.81 million, the withdrawal of EPCOR’s request for a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) cost deferral account, and compliance with Commission decisions.



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Arguments on ATCO’s Disposal of its 2018-2021 Transmission Deferral Accounts

In Proceeding 26573, ATCO Electric Ltd. (ATCO) proposed to remove $10.8 million of what it deemed as “above fair market value” costs related to matting, brushing, and hydrovac services for the Jasper Interconnection Project (Jasper Project). The proposed adjustment would reduce the project cost from $35.9 million to approximately $25.1 million. However, the original cost estimate for the project was $9.2 million.[1]

The Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) reopened this deferral account application after completing an investigative process that revealed ATCO sole-sourced its matting, brushing, and hydrovac contract to Backwoods Contracting Ltd. (Backwoods) at above-market rates. The $10.8 million is what ATCO estimates are the above-market amount spent on the project. In this proceeding, the CCA and the UCA present their arguments before the Commission on whether ATCO’s proposed $10.8 million reduction is reasonable. 



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ATCO Electric Transmission 2023-2025 Tariff Application Arguments

In Proceeding 27062, ATCO Electric Transmission (ATCO) submit its 2023-2025 general tariff application to the Alberta Utilities Commission (the Commission) for approval. In December 2022, all parties agreed to a negotiated settlement, which the Commission approved in January 2023. However, the settlement excluded the three following matters:

  • A depreciation adjustment related to the Jasper Palisades Isolated Generation Plant.
  • Modification to the variable pay program.
  • Vegetation management reserve removal.

The intervening parties submit their oral arguments that address these three remaining issues.



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