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Certain costs may be recovered from participating in a hearing or proceeding
If you participate in a facility project review or a rates review proceeding, you may be eligible to recover your costs for participating in a hearing or other AUC proceedings, including the costs associated with hiring a lawyer and/or expert or a consultant. Recovery of costs in facilities proceedings are governed by Rule 009: Rules on Local Intervener Costs. Recovery of costs in rates proceedings is governed by Rule 022: Rules on Costs in Utility Rate Proceedings.
In facility project reviews, local interveners who have been given standing may apply to the AUC for an award of costs by filing a cost claim.
In rates proceedings, the AUC may award costs to an intervener who has, or represents a group of utility customers that have a substantial interest in the subject matter of a hearing or other proceeding and who does not have the means to raise sufficient financial resources to enable the intervener to present its interest adequately in the hearing or other proceeding. Section 4 of Rule 022 lists the types of classes of interveners who are not eligible to claim costs. Eligible interveners in rates proceedings may apply to the AUC for an award of costs by filing a costs claim in accordance with Appendix C of Rule 022.
In both facilities and rates proceedings, an intervener who is eligible to recover costs may at any time before or during the hearing or other proceeding, make a request to the AUC for an advance of funds. An application for advance funding must include a budget and include information substantiating the need for the advance of funds. The AUC may approve an advance of funds request if the intervener demonstrates a need for financial assistance to address relevant issues in the hearing or other proceeding. A request for an advance of funds must be made in accordance with Section 7 of Rule 022 in a rates proceeding and in accordance with Section 2 of Rule 009 in a facilities proceeding.
When the Commission denies an application for a review of a previously issued decision under Rule 016: Review of Commission Decisions, the review applicant shall bear its own costs.
The AUC awards costs in accordance with a scale of costs and prescribes the following maximum hourly rates for legal fees and the fees of consultants, analysts and experts:
Articling students $140 per hour
One to four years at the bar $240 per hour
Five to seven years at the bar $280 per hour
Eight to 12 years at the bar $320 per hour
More than 12 years at the bar $350 per hour
The scale of costs also sets the maximum amounts that can be claimed for travel to a hearing, secretarial and administrative work, and personal disbursements. In facilities proceedings, local interveners may also claim an honorarium for attendance at the hearing. Please review the allowances and requirements in Rule 009 and in Rule 022.
The formation of a group often reduces duplication of the information presented at the hearing and of costs. In facilities application, the organizer(s) of a group may claim an honorarium of up to $500 to account for the time, effort, and expense that may have been required to organize the group. In exceptional cases, where time committed is substantial, honoraria may be higher. Before you hire a lawyer, expert, analyst or consultant, the Commission encourages you to discuss the scale of costs that the AUC uses to determine cost awards.
Unless otherwise directed by the Commission, costs claims must be filed within 30 days after the hearing or other proceeding is closed. The deadlines for costs claims related to a review application are found in Section 5.A of Rule 009 and Section 9 of Rule 022. In rates proceedings, the deadline to file a costs claim related to a negotiated settlement agreement is found in Section 9 of Rule 022.