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The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) has the jurisdiction to regulate investor-owned water utilities, and can set their rates, and terms and conditions of service. In setting rates, the AUC must maintain a balance between the interests of the water utility and its customers.
The AUC and its predecessor, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB), have always responded to complaints regarding the rates, terms and conditions, and service of investor-owned water utilities and established rates for certain water utilities when it has been necessary.
Establishing rates involves a full regulatory process which is often costly and difficult for small water utilities due to their small customer base and lack of staff and expertise required for a complex rate hearing. To make the rate application process easier for Alberta’s investor owned water utilities and their customers, the AUC approved revisions to Rule 011, Rate Application Process for Water Utilities on December 17, 2010. The Rule 011 process allows all parties of an application to use the expertise of AUC staff, reducing the need for outside consultants and legal counsel. The objective is to lessen the cost and expedite the rate approval process.
As part of the Rule 011 process, AUC Staff will hold a public information meeting for customers of the utility to explain the process. An opportunity will be given to customers to organize and if they desire, they can choose representatives to attend meetings on behalf of all customers.
AUC Staff may assist the utility in preparation of an application. Once the application has been filed, a review process will commence and a Commission member will be assigned to the application. During the review process, customers and the Commission will have the opportunity to request additional information about the application from the utility. Following that, both the customer groups and the utility will have the opportunity to present argument and reply to the Commission. Once the review process is completed, the Commission will issue a decision within 60 days.
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