“The Alberta Utilities Commission regulates the utilities sector, natural gas and electricity markets to protect social, economic and environmental interests of Alberta where competitive market forces do not.”
Utilities rates and terms and conditions of service
The AUC regulates investor-owned electric, gas and water utilities, and some municipally owned electric utilities, making certain that Albertans receive safe and reliable utility service at just and reasonable rates.
The AUC also oversees the tolls, tariffs and service regulations of energy transmission through natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines.
Utility facility projects
The AUC has jurisdiction over the siting of facilities including electric transmission facilities, electric power plants and natural gas transmission pipelines.
The AUC establishes mandatory requirements and standards of practice for the retail electric and natural gas markets through the use of a rule-making procedure involving a consultative process with stakeholders and interested parties.
The Regulatory Policy Division also conducts research on current and emerging issues on matters related to the operation of the retail natural gas and electric markets and maintains contact with regulated entities, stakeholder groups and regulatory agencies in Alberta and other jurisdictions as a means of remaining current on topical issues.
The AUC has the responsibility to provide the adjudicative function with respect to the contravention of specific electric and gas utilities legislation; AUC Decisions and Orders; ISO Rules; as well as agency and market participant conduct. The AUC also hears objections and complaints regarding market rules and standards.
Consumers with questions or concerns regarding any of the above can contact Consumer Relations.
Why we do it
The provision of utility service tends to be highly capital intensive in nature as there are high fixed costs associated with the facilities required to get natural gas, electricity and water to end use customers. It is not feasible from either an economic or environmental perspective to build and operate duplicate facilities such as electric transmission lines or natural gas pipelines that are owned and operated by different utility companies.
Utilities provide essential public services and are considered to be natural monopolies in the provision of those services. As a result, they are subject to regulation and the Commission is considered to act as a surrogate to competition. This regulation ensures that services are provided at a fair price and that appropriate service levels are maintained.
Accordingly, the AUC regulates the delivery of investor and some municipally owned electric, natural gas and water utility services as well as the major intra-Alberta natural gas transmission system in order to ensure that customers receive safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates. In establishing rates, our mandate is to balance the interests of both customers and the regulated service providers. The regulated utility is given the opportunity to recover its reasonable costs of providing service, including a fair return on its investment, so that it will be financially viable and able to provide customers with adequate service now and in the future.
In addition to regulating tariffs related to distribution and transmission of natural gas and electricity, the AUC also regulates the rate that regulated retailers charge customers for the energy commodity itself. Eligible customers may choose to obtain their electricity or natural gas on a regulated basis or they may choose to obtain their energy supply from a Competitive Retailer.