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The Alberta government, through an order in council, appoints members of the Commission
Carolyn Dahl Rees was appointed chair of the AUC on June 24, 2020, after rejoining the Commission as a member in late March of the same year.
Ms. Dahl Rees was the AUC’s first acting chair immediately after it was established in 2008, and served as a member and as vice-chair from 2008 to 2012. She has chaired or served on Commission panels adjudicating some of the AUC’s most complex applications, in all areas of the AUC’s regulatory mandate.
Ms. Dahl Rees received a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Toronto after completing a bachelor’s degree in English at Houston, Texas’s Rice University and a master’s degree in medieval studies at the University of Toronto.
Ms. Dahl Rees rejoined the AUC from TransAlta Corporation, where she had served in several senior legal roles at various times, including special legal counsel, managing director for legal and compliance, vice-president of regulatory and compliance, and general counsel. She was also a member of the Calgary Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, serving twice as its first vice-chair.
Before being first appointed to the AUC, Ms. Dahl Rees was an acting member and member of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, an acting member of the Natural Resources Conservation Board, and the former chair of an independent review panel for the Alberta Beverage Container Management Board.
Ms. Dahl Rees has experience drafting legislation and regulations, and helped to prepare the Alberta Electric Utilities Act, the first rules for the Power Pool of Alberta, contracts setting up the restructured Alberta electric system, and the structure of Alberta’s first transmission administrator. In the late ’90s, Ms. Dahl Rees played a role in the development of the legislative amendments and power purchase arrangements used to deregulate Alberta’s utility generating units. She has been active in the Calgary community for many years through Calgary Opera.
Mr. Larder was appointed as a full-time Commission member and vice-chair in June 2021 having previously served as the AUC’s general counsel. Mr. Larder was appointed as an acting Commission member in July 2020.
Mr. Larder joined the Commission’s predecessor, the Alberta Energy and Utility Board (AEUB) in 1997 and acted on its behalf in major public hearings related to oil and gas and electric energy facilities, resource disputes, utility rate-making matters and court challenges.
Mr. Larder was appointed general counsel of the AEUB in 2004 and continued in that capacity with the Alberta Utilities Commission when it was created in 2008. He has sat as an acting Commission member for the Commission and as an acting board member at the AEUB. Prior to 1997, Mr. Larder was in private legal practice in Calgary, mostly focused on litigation.
He has a bachelor of arts degree, and a bachelor of law degree from Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Ms. Sebalj has held legal and regulatory roles in the energy and utilities sectors in Canada for more than two decades. This work started in the Maritimes during the development of the Sable Offshore Energy Project and then continued in Ontario during the period leading up to and following the restructuring of that province’s electricity sector.
Before joining the AUC in July 2018, Ms. Sebalj was the registrar at the Ontario Energy Board, where she was a regulatory decision maker, team leader and executive advisor. In this post, she oversaw the Ontario Energy Board’s adjudicative processes and designed and directed the implementation of a far-reaching consumer engagement program. Prior to this role, she was senior Ontario Energy Board legal counsel, providing litigation counsel for rates and facilities hearings and legal, strategic and regulatory advice for policy matters. Those matters included smart meter, conservation and demand management, and First Nations initiatives.
Prior to joining the Ontario Energy Board in 2005, Ms. Sebalj was the co-chair of (then) McMillan Binch LLP’s energy group. She appeared before energy tribunals, and represented clients in corporate and regulatory matters involving electricity generation, transmission and distribution, natural gas supply, pipeline and tolling issues, and the purchase, sale and construction of energy-related assets.
Kristi Sebalj received a bachelor of laws degree and a certificate in marine environmental law from Dalhousie University in Halifax. She also received bachelor of science and master of science degrees from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Ms. Sebalj is member of the Law Society of Ontario and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, and holds a certificate in adjudication for administrative agencies, boards and tribunals.
Michael Arthur was appointed a Commission member in April 2023.
Mr. Arthur brings a strong background in both regulated and non-regulated utilities to the role, as well as senior roles with major international power engineering and consulting firms. This includes substantial exposure to utility system planning and operations, Alberta utility regulatory processes, and generation and transmission technologies. Mr. Arthur also has experience in nuclear power engineering and design.
He has held senior positions with power industry consultant Bench Holdings Ltd., international engineering firm Worley Ltd., infrastructure engineering and procurement firm Black & Veatch, and engineering and design company Colt Engineering.
Mr. Arthur holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Saskatchewan and is a registered professional engineer in the province of Alberta.
Renée Marx was appointed a member of the Alberta Utilities Commission in July 2022, continuing a career focused on energy-related regulatory law with a strong emphasis on utilities, including transmission and generation, primarily within the Alberta context. She has held senior legal positions centred on regulatory affairs as a consultant, with the Alberta Energy Regulator, with the province’s largest transmission operator, a major Alberta generation firm, and with the AUC’s predecessor, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board. She has been involved in utilities and energy regulation, in increasingly demanding roles, for more than two decades.
Ms. Marx’s familiarity with Alberta’s utility regulation-related legislative and regulatory scheme is complemented by deep experience in utility rates, utility facilities planning and approval, compliance and enforcement, Indigenous relations, health and safety, policy development, strategic management, stakeholder engagement, and regulatory modernization, streamlining and efficiency.
Ms. Marx has completed bachelor of arts in political science and bachelor of laws degrees, both at the University of Calgary. She has also completed a certificate in regulatory leadership offered jointly by the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. She is a member of the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association.
Matthew Oliver was appointed a member of the Alberta Utilities Commission in April 2022 after serving for five years as the chief regulatory officer and deputy registrar of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). Before his work with APEGA, Mr. Oliver spent nine years as an appeals commissioner and hearing chair with the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers’ Compensation, authoring more than 300 decisions. His early career included roles as forensic electrical engineer, as a church minister and aerospace engineer.
He also spent time in prior years as a senior officer with the Canadian Forces, serving as a chief aircraft engineer and as a flight commander with the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment.
Mr. Oliver holds bachelor and master’s degrees in engineering, and a master’s degree in divinity, along with diplomas in aerospace engineering, explosives engineering, and avionics engineering; and a certificate in restorative justice.
Mr. Oliver is Métis, a member on the board of governors of The King’s University in Edmonton and published author in theology, workplace culture and engineering.
Cairns Price was appointed a member of the Alberta Utilities Commission in January 2021 following a career in senior legal roles focused on regulatory, environmental and Indigenous law. He has significant experience in the oil and gas, pipeline and utility industries.
Before joining the AUC, Mr. Price was corporate regulatory counsel and was in private legal practice. He has appeared before various provincial and federal regulatory tribunals and has extensive experience with provincial and federal regulation in the energy sector.
Mr. Price is a member of the Law Society of Alberta, a graduate with distinction of the bachelor of law and bachelor of civil law programs of McGill University Faculty of Law, and a graduate with distinction of the bachelor of commerce program of the University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business.
Mr. Price has volunteered as a board member with Calgary’s Scarboro Community Association, and with L’Arche Calgary, which supports individuals with developmental disabilities.
Vera Slawinski was appointed as a member of the Alberta Utilities Commission in January 2021.
Ms. Slawinski re-joined the AUC, having previously served as legal counsel to the Commission between April 2008 and March 2013, with a focus on natural gas and electric utility rate-setting proceedings including the generic cost of capital, along with financial settlement, service quality and smart grid matters. Before April 2008, she worked in private legal practice, primarily in the areas of corporate and securities law.
Prior to rejoining the AUC in 2021 Ms. Slawinski had most recently been legal counsel for a major Alberta electric utility, working on both rate and facilities matters, as well as compliance with various AUC-administered regulations and rules. Those duties built on six years’ earlier experience providing advice on the interpretation and drafting of electricity and natural gas utilities legislation to the Alberta Department of Energy. This latter role also cultivated a familiarity with the other Alberta electricity agencies: the Alberta Electric System Operator, the Balancing Pool and the Market Surveillance Administrator.
Ms. Slawinski is a member of the Law Society of Alberta, with a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Calgary, and a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Chicago. These academic achievements built on an earlier bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor of science degree in pure mathematics from the University of Calgary.
Patrick Brennan is a doctor of veterinarian medicine, an equine veterinarian and business owner who has served as a member or chair of Alberta association boards, quasi-judicial tribunals and councils at the provincial and municipal level. He has been active in Alberta’s veterinary, municipal government and horse racing communities for his entire career.
Mr. Brennan is a graduate of veterinary programs at the University of Saskatchewan, and an internship at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana. He founded the Hermitage Veterinary Hospital in Edmonton. Mr. Brennan was an acting member of the Alberta Utilities Commission from 2011 to 2016, during which time he was involved in decisions involving electricity and natural gas transmission and distribution; hydroelectric, gas and wind power generation, costs, and requests for review and variance. Reappointed in 2018, Mr. Brennan’s term expires in 2023.
Born and raised in Edmonton and living in nearby Parkland County, Mr. Brennan served as a county councillor, on the county’s subdivision authority, the subdivision and development appeal board, the agricultural and rural life advisory committee, and the economic development and tourism advisory committee. Mr. Brennan is also a former member of the Capital Region Wastewater Commission, serving as vice-chairman for six years and chairman for three years. In the 1980s, he served as a member and chairman of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association Discipline Committee, and as a board member for the Western College of Veterinary Medicine equine research committee.
Mr. Brennan is a former board member and chairman of Horse Racing Alberta. He was selected by the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties as its representative on the provincial government’s foreign animal disease eradication committee, and aggregate review committee. Mr. Brennan has also served as a board member and chairman of the TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre in Spruce Grove.
Dennis Frehlich was appointed an acting Commission member in April 2023, bringing an extensive history in senior roles in the Alberta electric industry, including the independent transmission system operator, to the Alberta Utilities Commission.
Mr. Frehlich is a registered engineer, specializing in electrical engineering. He has served as the vice-president of grid reliability, as the chief engineer for technology and innovation, and as the senior strategic advisor for the Alberta Electric System Operator, which operates Alberta’s Interconnected Electric System. He has also worked in multiple senior roles with a major Alberta transmission operator, and a large, vertically integrated Alberta electric power utility.
Mr. Frehlich holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering degree from the University of Saskatchewan and he is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
Doug Hawkins is a professional engineer with a strong background in municipal engineering and infrastructure development and management, including oversight of a city-owned electric utility. He was appointed an acting member of the Alberta Utilities Commission in April 2023.
Mr. Hawkins has 25 years of experience working with the City of Lethbridge, including as city engineer and as director of infrastructure services. These roles included oversight of the city utility’s provision of wire services, both electrical distribution and transmission, as well as the provision of the regulated rate option to local customers. Mr. Hawkins has familiarity with the Alberta Electric System Operator, as well as the tariff and compliance requirements of the Alberta Utilities Commission.
Mr. Hawkins is a certified municipal manager and holds a degree in engineering and management from the Royal Military College of Canada.
Merete Heggelund is the chief administrative officer for the City of Medicine Hat, with an extensive background and experience in the energy sector, including in organizational and policy development and project and portfolio valuation. In her Medicine Hat role, she has an oversight role in the municipality’s business units such as electrical generation, electric and gas distribution and upstream oil and gas exploration, development and production.
Ms. Heggelund is a graduate of the master of economics program of the University of Calgary, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and statistics from the University of Oslo in Norway, and is enrolled in the Directors Education Program of the Institute of Corporate Directors. She was appointed to the AUC in 2018 with a five-year term.
In Medicine Hat, Ms. Heggelund served as the commissioner of corporate services following senior advisory, business services, and administration roles with several oil and gas firms. She is the former director of economics for the Saskatchewan Energy Conservation and Development Authority, manager of forecasting and economics for TransAlta Utilities Corp., and senior economist for the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
Ms. Heggelund is a council member of the Standards Council of Canada and chair of the council’s governance committee.
Vincent Kostesky has a strong private-sector background in regulatory affairs and strategy, electricity and natural gas marketing, market structures, electric system operations and oversight, and in electricity market design. This is derived from senior positions with a major Canadian and international pipeline and energy generation company, a leadership position with the former electric system operator and in director roles in electricity, natural gas and natural gas liquids marketing and trading.
Mr. Kostesky has also served on the board of directors of a major industrial electricity consumers association. Additionally, he was actively involved in the 2001 restructuring of Alberta’s electric system.
Mr. Kostesky, a chartered professional accountant, was appointed an acting member of the Alberta Utilities Commission in January 2021 for a five-year term. His professional background includes ownership of a retailing concern and senior positions in natural gas and natural gas liquids marketing and trading. Along with completing his accounting designation at the University of Calgary, he is a graduate of Brandon, Manitoba’s Assiniboine Community College.
Koren Lightning-Earle is a Maskwacis-based lawyer and a member of the Samson Cree Nation in Alberta. She is the Indigenous initiatives liaison for the Law Society of Alberta, and operates her own law firm, Thunderbird Law, at the Samson Cree Nation at Maskwacis (formerly Hobbema), Alberta, in Treaty Six territory. The practice focuses on family law, wills and estates, Aboriginal and Indigenous law, alternative dispute resolution, governance and policy work, and strategic planning.
Ms. Lightning-Earle is a graduate of the University of Alberta with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and leisure studies; a special bachelor’s degree in arts from Augustana University College in Camrose, Alberta; and completed the program of legal studies for native people at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. She also received a bachelor of laws from the University of Alberta; and will be completing her master of laws degree with specialization in alternative dispute resolution from York University in Toronto, Ontario, in fall 2018. She is a member of the Law Society of Alberta and was appointed to the AUC for a five-year term in 2018.
Ms. Lightning-Earle has a strong background and current involvement in Indigenous law and legal affairs. She is a former president of Canada’s Indigenous Bar Association, a former elected council member of the Samson Cree Nation and co-chair of the First Nations Women’s Economic Security Council. Ms. Lightning-Earle is also a member of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, board member for First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and vice-president of Kasohkowew Child Wellness Society. She is a sessional instructor in business law, introduction to western law and Indigenous people, native insight and issues, and organizational behaviour at Maskwacis Cultural College.
John McCarthy has a strong background in energy engineering, environmental protection and economics, with public and private sector experience as an energy consultant, as a member of regulatory tribunals and in senior staff and executive positions with the National Energy Board.
He has solid private sector experience in health, safety, environment, risk management and stakeholder engagement related to natural gas facilities and pipeline operations; along with extensive experience in pipeline regulation, strategic planning, communications and energy economic studies, among other areas.
A professional engineer, Mr. McCarthy was appointed as an acting member of the Alberta Utilities Commission in April 2022 for a five-year term. Immediately prior to his appointment he was a member of the Alberta Surface Rights Board and the Alberta Land Compensation Board, which were amalgamated to become the Alberta Land and Property Rights Tribunal.
Mr. McCarthy has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa, a master of business administration degree from the University of Calgary, and completed the leadership development program at the Banff School of Leadership. He has consulted for the University of Calgary School of Public Policy and written for the Canadian Institute of Resource Law. He has extensive volunteer experience within the community, currently serving on the board of directors of the Calgary Homeless Foundation.
Rick Robinson was the chief administrative officer of Lethbridge County until January 2018, and served in county roles for 24 years, including in as cost accountant, controller and director of corporate services. Mr. Robinson is also a retired member of the Alberta Rural Administrators Association. Mr. Robinson is a chartered accountant.
Mr. Robinson is a graduate with great distinction of bachelor of management program of the University of Lethbridge and a member of Chartered Professional Accountants Alberta. He also holds a certificate in municipal management and leadership from the University of Alberta.
During his time at Lethbridge County, Mr. Robinson, a Metis, took a two-year leave of absence to work as the chief financial officer of the Hopital Albert Schweitzer, in Haiti. Mr. Robinson was appointed as an acting AUC member in 2018 with a term that expires in 2023.
As an active supporter of the Lethbridge community, Mr. Robinson has also served in board positions at the Lethbridge Curling Club including president and vice-president, and as secretary-treasurer for the Southern Alberta Individualized Planning Association and the Lethbridge Chargers Soccer Club.
Bohdan (Don) Romaniuk has a bachelor’s degree with honours in economics from the University of Alberta, a degree in law from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in economics from Queen’s University. He has built expertise and experience in the fields of law, economics, regulation, corporate finance and commercial enterprise during three decades of work as a lawyer, corporate executive and builder of start-up companies.
Mr. Romaniuk is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Canadian Bar Association. He joined the AUC as an acting Commission member in October 2012.
Mr. Romaniuk has had significant exposure to and involvement with quasi-judicial regulatory bodies at the provincial and federal level focused on telecommunications and which operated in deregulating or deregulated policy environments. This included senior regulatory affairs oversight roles with Canada’s top-tier telecommunications firms, and with both public and private firms. His initial legal practice was centred on telecommunications, competition and administrative law. Since then, Mr. Romaniuk has served in senior executive, officer or board roles in telecommunications, advertising, marketing and promotion, wireless location, high-performance computing, and oil and gas. He has also published scholarly articles on competition law and telecommunications regulation, and has a strong interest in the interplay of and among central banking, international finance and global debt and equity markets.
Mr. Romaniuk is active as a volunteer in the community, in professional associations and in the not-for-profit sector. He has served on the investment advisory committee of a federally-chartered charitable foundation, the board of directors of the Calgary Opera Association and on the board of directors of the International Telecommunications Society, the latter of which he continues to serve as secretariat. Mr. Romaniuk is the president of the Calgary Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association and in his leisure time enjoys fly-fishing and amateur astronomy.
John Whaley has a strong agricultural background, is the former long-time mayor of Leduc County as well as a former board member of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (formerly the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Councils, or AAMDC).
Mr. Whaley served as a director of the Alberta Safety Codes Council, a board member of the Agricultural Service Board, the audit and finance committee of Alberta’s Local Authorities Pension Plan (including a term as chair), and as a counsellor, sat on Leduc County’s financial audit committee. He was appointed to the AUC in 2018 with a term ending in 2023.
Until 2013 Mr. Whaley was an active agricultural producer, and prior to coming to Canada in 1990 he ran a mixed farming operation in England for more than 20 years. He received a diploma in agriculture in England, at Kirkley Hall Agricultural College.