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May 2020

UPDATE - CPA continues fight against unfair natural gas expansion

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On May 26, Enbridge filed an application to expand natural gas through adding a new 23¢/m3 Temporary Connection Surcharge (up to 20 years) for new customers in smaller expansion projects (less than 50 new customers). Enbridge is also asking the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to approve a method to allocate capital costs of expansion projects to customers. This would apply to “development projects”, which could be expansions into new territories or projects to increase volume capacity into existing territories to meet increased demand in those areas. It could also allocate costs between all customers served by the Development Project – existing customers and new customers in the specified area. If the OEB approved the methodology, then presumably Enbridge would be able to avoid future expansion approval hearings, and instead just submit a form showing the project profitability using this methodology.

For the CPA, these are crucial questions considering the complaint we filed in July of 2019 – which is still unanswered.  We had complained that Enbridge misled the OEB when it applied for the original 23¢ charge as part of the surcharge was used to offer free customer conversions. For the CPA, the legitimacy of the surcharge needs to be resolved before the Board can consider expanding that charge to small expansion customers as well. Furthermore, before the Board can approve a methodology for the allocation of capital costs, the capital costs must be identified. Specifically, do these include free customer conversion costs?

On May 27, the CPA wrote, for the third time, to the OEB to ask whether our now 10-month long investigation into our complaint would be completed by June 9 (the deadline to ask for intervenor status). We explained that the questions raised in the complaint are directly relevant to the considerations in this new EB-2020-0094 application. If the investigation on the complaint filed by the CPA is completed by June 9 (to the CPA’s satisfaction), then we may not need to intervene in EB-2020-0094. If it is not, then we will be compelled to intervene, submit the complaint in evidence, and ask the Board to include an investigation of the issues raised as part of the EB-2020-0094 hearing, since OEB staff clearly are not able to do so. For more information please contact marcellineriddell@propane.ca.

 

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