British Columbia Utilities Commission Releases Draft Report on the Indigenous Utilities Regulation Inquiry

On November 1, 2019, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (the BCUC) released a draft report (the Draft Report) on its inquiry respecting the regulation of Indigenous utilities (the Inquiry). The Inquiry was instigated as a result of some recent decisions of the BCUC relating to Indigenous owned utilities that raised questions over whether they ought to be regulated differently under the Utilities Commission Act (the UCA). We have set out below some of the Draft Report’s more notable recommendations for the regulation of Indigenous utilities in BC.

For background, the government issued an Order in Council in March 2019 directing the BCUC to advise on the appropriate nature and scope, if any, of the regulation of Indigenous utilities. The terms of reference for the Inquiry required that the BCUC respond to specific questions, including questions relating to the defining characteristics of Indigenous utilities and whether Indigenous utilities should be regulated under the UCA, another mechanism, or go unregulated. The BCUC requested submissions from registered interveners and interested parties and convened a series of community consultations throughout BC, which resulted in preliminary findings and recommendations based on comments and feedback from a range of Indigenous representatives, special interest groups and current utilities.

Some of the BCUC’s proposed recommendations to the government include:

The BCUC is hosting six workshops to gather feedback and comments on the Draft Report. The BCUC is also accepting written comments on the Draft Report until March 31, 2020. The final report describing the results of consultations undertaken and its findings and recommendations must be submitted to the government no later than April 30, 2020.

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