The AUC uses an established process to review applications to protect social, economic and environmental interests of Alberta. It is also committed to ensuring that Albertans whose rights may be directly and adversely affected by a project have an opportunity to have their concerns heard, understood and considered.
When a company applies for a power plant, transmission lines, distribution lines, gas transmission, or distribution projects or the Alberta Electric System Operator applies for approval of the need for new electricity development the applicant must engage in a public consultation program (also called the participant involvement program). The application guidelines and requirements for facility applications can be found in Rule 007 and Rule 020.
The applicant files its application with the Alberta Utilities Commission through the eFiling System. The AUC creates a proceeding which initiates a formal process to consider the application filed. The application is then reviewed to ensure the required information is included and the applicant followed the necessary steps set out in Rule 001 and any other relevant rules. If the required information is not provided, the AUC may choose to close the application or to request more information from the applicant.
The application and all associated documents can be easily found using the proceeding number in the eFiling System. If you do not have the proceeding number you can also filter the results by applicant or search using other known details about the application. Anyone can create an eFiling System account by creating a user name and password.
The Alberta Utilities Commission issues a notice by mail directly to those who live, operate a business or occupy land in the project area who may be affected by approval of the proposed project. The notice is mailed out to the addresses provided by the applicant and for larger facility projects with potentially greater impact the notice is also published in local newspapers.
All notice of applications specify a submission deadline and anyone who wishes to provide comments about the application or participate in the proceeding must submit concerns to the AUC through the eFiling System by the date stated in the notice.
Anyone can opt to be notified by email of applications filed with the AUC though the global notification settings in the eFiling System.
Anyone with unresolved objections or concerns about the application can file a written submission to the AUC, preferably through the eFiling System, to have their concerns considered by the panel of Commission members before making a decision on the application. The submission should include general information, which can be expanded upon in later stages of the review process. For more information on what should be included in submissions please read Have your say about a utility project.
Based on what is filed, the Commission will determine if those who file submissions have standing to participate in the hearing. Standing is given to those that demonstrate they have rights that may be directly and adversely affected by the Commission’s decision on the application.
Any information and materials provided as part of an AUC proceeding, except information granted confidentiality, will become part of the public record and will be available through the eFiling System.
The Commission supports ongoing efforts to reach a positive outcome for the applicant and affected parties. The applicant and those who have outstanding issues can continue to work on finding a resolution through continued consultation and negotiation. If you file a submission and your concern is addressed you can always withdraw your concern.
The Commission will issue a notice of hearing if a person or business with standing continues to have unresolved concerns with the application. The notice of hearing will provide a hearing date and location in addition to a process schedule. In most facility proceedings, the AUC will hold a hearing close to the project area to be convenient and more accessible for most people attending the hearing. A summarized process schedule will be included in the notice of hearing or letter to parties.
Landowners have an opportunity to hire legal counsel and expert witnesses to support meaningful participation in the proceeding. This could include filing submissions and evidence, information requests of the applicant and representation at the hearing. To be efficient and effective, the AUC strongly encourages landowners with similar issues to form a group and hire legal counsel to represent the group. The local intervener costs related to hiring a lawyer and expert witnesses, in addition to other expenses incurred to participant in the hearing, may be recovered by individuals with standing in a facilities proceeding as outlined in Rule 009.
A public oral hearing is a formal court-like process where Commission members will hear the witnesses for the applicant and those for the interveners based on the written information filed. After the applicant and the interveners have presented their witnesses and questioned them, each one will summarize its position. The hearing is formally adjourned when the panel chair announces that the hearing is complete.
The public can attend the hearing in-person or listen in to hearings online through the AUC’s website.
For more information please visit what happens at a hearing.
The Commission’s written decision is generally issued no more than 90 days after the close of the hearing or the close of record (when final arguments are received). The Commission will include the issues considered with reasons in its decision.
An applicant or participant who is dissatisfied with a Commission decision can request the Commission to review its decision within 60 days, from the date the decision is issued, as specified in Rule 016.
A dissatisfied participant may also file a permission to appeal in the Court of Appeal of Alberta within 30 days from the date the decision is issued.
An applicant that receives a permit and licence to build and operate a facility from the Commission must adhere to any conditions that were set out in the Commission decision. Concerns about compliance with approval conditions and post-construction operations can be submitted to the AUC for review.
Please see the compliance and enforcement section of our website for more details.