The Alberta Utilities Commission’s ensures regulated utilities comply with its decisions, orders and rules, and with the relevant Alberta legislation and regulations the AUC oversees. In its compliance functions and responsibilities, the AUC has an investigation and enforcement role.
The enforcement and investigation efforts can be divided into these five main focus areas:
The construction, operation and maintenance of Alberta electricity and natural gas utility infrastructure are subject to Alberta’s environmental laws and regulations and generally subject to specific guidance from Alberta Environment and Parks and from the Alberta Utilities Commission.
The AUC considers environmental matters in every facility project decision. As part of the AUC mandate, it protects social, economic and environmental interests of Alberta where competitive forces do not.
The construction, operation and maintenance of Alberta electricity and natural gas utility infrastructure are subject to Alberta's environmental laws and regulations and generally subject to specific guidance from Alberta Environment and Parks and from the Alberta Utilities Commission.
AUC's decisions, orders and licences as well as the conditions attached to approvals are shared publicly, reported and monitored through the AUC's eFiling System.
The AUC sets and enforces specific requirements regarding noise associated with regulated utility infrastructure.
The construction, maintenance and operation of AUC-approved utility infrastructure is subject to AUC conditions of the utility owner. These can be requirements around land access and notice, livestock protection, around weed control, and even around what time of year heavy equipment may be used.
The AUC also may have requirements around noise, dust and timing of work.
Landowners or residents that are directly impacted by utility construction, maintenance and operations issues are encouraged to contact the utility company to seek resolution. If this is unsatisfactory, landowners and residents are encouraged to contact the AUC.
When warranted, the AUC will investigate non-compliance with its decisions, which may and often do include conditions around the construction, maintenance and operation of utility infrastructure. This includes environmental, including wildlife requirements.
Additionally, in its decision making, the Alberta Utilities Commission has responsibilities to ensure landowners (and anyone who has a right to use the land) who may be directly and adversely affected by its decisions on utility matters have an opportunity to have their concerns heard and understood.
The AUC investigates when rates are being charged unfairly or incorrectly.
The AUC does not determine rates or conditions of service from retailers offering fixed pricing for fixed terms for electricity or natural gas. For issues with these contracts, please contact the
Office of the Utilities Consumer Advocate of Alberta.
Rate-setting is at the core of the AUC's responsibilities in overseeing Alberta's regulated utilities. The AUC strives to ensure rates are just and reasonable, and that they provide a reasonable opportunity for utility owners to earn a fair return on their investment.
The AUC determines rates for utility distribution companies, for electricity and consumer natural gas transmission, and for some water utilities.
When utilities apply for rates, the AUC has an open and transparent process that evaluates submitted evidence that is tested and considered by consumer groups, industry groups and other interest groups to sets rates terms and conditions of service.
Participants in the AUC's rate-setting process regularly include the Utilities Consumer Advocate (for residential customers), Industrial Power Consumers Association of Alberta or IPCAA (for industrial customers) and the Consumers' Coalition of Alberta.
Each of these parties' file evidence and challenge numbers provided in rate applications submitted by regulated utility companies. Concerns about how rates are set are usually done as a united consumer group which presents a common argument for what they have determined to be just and fair to parties.
have a concern about the terms and conditions of your utility service, and particularly if you have a billing issue, you should contact your utility company first to try to resolve the issue. If you are unable to get resolution, the
Utilities Consumer Advocate can work with you to advocate and mediate on your behalf. If you have further questions you can also contact the AUC at 310-4AUC or
If you have a concern about the level of your utility rates, the Utilities Consumer Advocate has a mandate to educate, advocate and mediate for Alberta utility customers. It is among the organizations that represent Alberta residential consumers at AUC rates hearings. Additionally, if you are dissatisfied about your retail billing including in situations where you have agreed to a contract, please contact the
Utilities Consumer Advocate at 310-4822, review the website or email them at
The Alberta Utilities Commission is responsible for adjudicating allegations of wrongdoing in the province's wholesale electricity market.
When Albertans receive their electricity bills, they expect that what they pay has been arrived at in a fair and ethical way. The AUC's mission includes ensuring that Alberta families and industries are protected from market manipulation.
The AUC works with the Alberta Market Surveillance Administrator, which brings allegations of market wrong-doing before the AUC, where they are dealt with in an evidence-based, open and quasi-judicial manner.
The AUC enforces Alberta's
Fair, Efficient and Open Competition Regulation and the
Electric Utilities Act, and has powers to levy significant financial penalties – including a
disgorgement of funds that were gained through a contravention, and the costs of the proceeding. Specifically, the AUC may impose:
The AUC has imposed penalties for breaches of Alberta's electricity market rules and have imposed administrative penalties of almost $52 million dollars in addition to payment for Market Surveillance Administrator costs.
The AUC does not have regulatory authority for oil and gas production pipelines; these are overseen by the
Alberta Energy Regulator. When natural gas pipelines cross provincial or international borders, the National Energy Board
is responsible. Low-pressure natural gas pipelines that operate under
700 kilopascals are distribution pipelines regulated by the
Rural Utilities Branch of Alberta Agriculture and Foresty, which is responsible for the design, construction, operation, maintenance and quality assurance of these lines.
The AUC ensures the safe operation of Alberta's gas utility pipelines and associated infrastructure through a multi-pronged approach of:
The AUC enforces and administers through staff work and regulatory decisions an array of legislation, regulations and AUC rules designed to ensure Alberta's natural gas utility pipeline operators operate their systems in a safe and secure manner. These laws, regulations, AUC rules and required procedures include:
The AUC is mandated to ensure that Alberta's natural gas utility pipelines are routed and constructed in the public interest as pipelines are paid for by utility rate payers. Efforts in this area include:
The AUC monitors for and enforces reliable operation of pipelines and meeting safety requirements on an ongoing basis through:
For more information on the AUC's review of gas utility pipeline integrity management reports and emergency response plan manuals, visit the
gas utility pipeline reports page.
The AUC is refining and reinforcing its role in oversight of low-pressure, or distribution pipelines by working with the
Rural Utilities Branch of the Government of Alberta's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Pipeline operators and associations in Alberta must adhere to rules on how they behave, deal with customer information and interact with customers through a legislated code of conduct that, among other things, covers:
These regulated companies and associations are required to file code of conduct compliance plans for AUC approval, to update these plans as required (and to have the updates approved by the AUC), and to file annual compliance reports to the AUC. These plans and reports may be found in the
Pipeline operators and associations in Alberta are also required to:
The AUC is required to:
The AUC has the power to levy significant penalties in cases where utilities do not meet required performance targets.
Utility companies are required to file reports quarterly and annually on their performance. Where performance or service standards have not been met, the utility company must provide an explanation and information on corrective measures being taken.
AUC staff meet with each utility company at least once annually to discuss their
service quality and reliability reports, the utilities' individual performance, corrective actions underway and issues raised by customer complaints to the AUC. Meetings may occur more frequently at the AUC's discretion.