Amendments to the "Utilities Commission Act" Empower BC Utilities Commission

 The BC government introduced B.C. Reg. 316/2012 on November 9, 2012, bringing into force amendments to the Utilities Commission Act (the Act) made under the Energy and Mines Statutes Amendment Act, 2012 (the Amendments).

The Amendments’ principal feature is the introduction of a new administrative penalty regime to ensure that utility companies, natural gas marketers and ICBC comply with the Act. The Amendments provide the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) new wide-ranging powers to issue administrative penalties and remedial orders for non-compliance. These powers include the ability to:
  • determine, after a hearing, a person has contravened the Act or an order of the BCUC;
  • impose a fine of up to $1 million per day for every day a party contravenes the Act or BCUC order;
  • publicize the penalties and reasons for imposing the penalty;
  • compel refunds if an underlying contract is declared unenforceable; and
  • prohibit offenders from passing penalties onto consumers as a cost of service.

The Amendments harmonize BC with other similar Canadian and U.S. commissions.

administrative penalty regime BC Utilities Commission Energy and Mines Statutes Amendment Act natural gas marketer Utilities Commission Act utility

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