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100 years of service and counting
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Service Quality and Reliability
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Featured project summaries
Castle Rock Ridge Project
ENMAX Downtown Calgary Transmission Reinforcement
Heritage Wind Farm Project
Need for reliability in Grande Prairie and Peace River areas
Paintearth Wind Project
Provost Reliability Upgrade Project
Riverview Substation Project
Riverview Wind Power Plant
Sharp Hills Wind Farm Project
South Edmonton Connector Project
Stirling Wind Power Project
Strathcona Substation capacity increase and transmission line
Suncor Forty Mile Wind Power Project
Windy Point Wind Park Project
Facility project decisions
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Alberta capacity market
Generic cost of capital
Independent system operator tariff
ATCO Electric Transmission general tariff
AltaLink Management deferral accounts reconciliation
ATCO Electric Disposal of deferral accounts for Hanna Regional
Direct Energy Regulated Services energy price setting plan
MSA complaint regarding mothball rule
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AUC's role in the electric industry
The Alberta Utilities Commission’s goal is to ensure safe, reliable electricity when Albertans switch on their lights and power up their electronics, and for those same customers to receive just and reasonable rates when they pay their electricity bills.
It is an important responsibility to make sure that Alberta’s electricity industry functions smoothly and the AUC has a key regulatory role in many areas and functions of the electricity industry.
Ensuring safe, reliable electricity
Transmission and distribution development
The AUC is responsible for making decisions about applications to construct, operate, upgrade and decommission electric transmission and distribution power lines that deliver electricity to Alberta homes and businesses. The AUC ensures that applications fit the electricity plan developed to meet the electricity need and
set by the
Alberta Electric System Operator
. It considers the public interest and the social, economic and environmental impacts from its
decisions about proposed transmission lines
. Applications for new or modified electric transmission development require an Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) submission of a needs identification document, except for grandfathered projects that were designated by the government as critical transmission infrastructure. As guided by legislation, the AUC must consider the AESO needs identification document to be correct and it will be approved - unless someone pr
oves that it is technically deficient or not in the public interest.
In Alberta 26,000 km of transmission lines, and more than 200,000 km of distribution lines criss-cross the province, serving the electricity needs of four million people at three million metered sites including homes, businesses and workplaces.
Power plant applications
The AUC is responsible to review applications for power plants that generate electricity using wind, solar, biomass, water or fossil fuel, to determine if the site of a proposed development should be approved. When the AUC considers and makes
decisions about the siting of power plants
it considers concerns such as potential property impacts, environmental impacts, and noise, among other issues, however it does not determine if and where in the province power generation should occur as electric generation is deregulated.
The AUC is the adjudicator that has a fair and just process to consider
allegations of market wrongdoings
in Alberta’s wholesale electricity market. It has an important role to make sure the electricity market functions properly, and that energy trading is conducted in a fair, efficient and competitive matter.
The AUC interacts with Alberta’s wholesale electricity market operator (and transmission system operator), the Alberta Electric System Operator or AESO, and a watchdog for the electric market called the Market Surveillance Administrator, or MSA. The MSA must and any electric market participant may make a complaint or refer a suspected contravention of market rules to the MSA. The MSA can investigate the matter and may bring the matter as a complaint to the AUC for adjudication. Depending on the type of contravention, if proven in an AUC proceeding, penalties can be applied by the AUC. These penalties range up to $1 million per day per contravention, plus a disgorgement of any economic benefit (or profit) that accrued through the contravention.
Service quality and compliance reporting
The AUC requires regulated utilities to quarterly and annually provide a detailed
service quality report
that provides extensive information and reporting about utility-specific energy outages and customer service standards. It also ensures that
customers are treated fairly
. Regulated utilities are expected to perform within strict standards set by the AUC, contained in two AUC rules,
. Staff of the AUC review these reports and meet with utility officials at least once annually to discuss utility performance, including customer complaints, and investigate shortcomings if they occur. When necessary an enforcement proceeding can be initiated to deal with sub-par performance. The AUC’s performance standards for regulated utilities include standards for:
nterruption duration and frequency.
Monthly billing and meter reading.
Consumer call answering performance.
Ensuring just and reasonable rates
determines transmission rates
through an in-depth, evidence-based and fair regulatory process that involves reviewing the costs required to build, maintain and operate large-scale utility infrastructure. The AUC’s role is to ensure that companies can recover reasonable costs incurred to meet the need required to provide transmission service, and have a reasonable opportunity to earn a
fair rate of return
The AUC determines distribution rates using an incentive-based formula, called performance-based regulation or PBR. This forward-thinking method of ratemaking was implemented by the AUC in 2013 and works to mimic the forces of competition and provide incentives to utilities to reduce costs. Its goal is to constrain consumer rates to less than what they might otherwise be by limiting rate increases to the rate of inflation less a demanding industry efficiency factor and a stretch factor. Since implementing PBR, the AUC has reviewed the approach and adjusted how it works to further improve the effectiveness of the PBR system.
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