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AUC Bulletin 2018-16: Consultation on Specified Financial Penalties for Utility Customer Care and Billing Issues

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Bill 13 – Electricity – Rule 003 – Proposed Changes

In this Bulletin, the AUC invited written comments from interested persons on the proposed new Rule 032: Specified Penalties for Contravention of AUC Rules (“Rule 032”) and the proposed revisions to Rule 003: Service Quality and Reliability Performance Monitoring and Reporting for Regulated Rate Providers and Default Supply Providers (“Rule 003”).

On June 11, 2018, Bill 13: An Act to Secure Alberta’s Electricity Future (“Bill 13”) came into force, which empowered the AUC to apply financial penalties to entities violating an AUC order, rule or decision.

In Bulletin 2018-13, the AUC outlined a two-phase process for developing the specified penalties framework contemplated in Bill 13. In Phase 1, the AUC reviewed and consulted with stakeholders on the current AUC rules that relate to customer care and billing. This process set the requirements and obligations around the roles and responsibilities of entities involved in the customer enrolment and de-enrolment process. The AUC stated that it is continuing with the review and strengthening of AUC customer care and billing rules through two initiatives.

First, by proposing changes to AUC Rule 003 to align with new provisions in the Electric Utilities Act and Gas Utilities Act allowing the AUC to establish service quality standards for owners of electric utilities, gas utilities, regulated service providers and retailers. The AUC explained that revisions to Rule 003 would set out certain billing and customer care requirements for these entities, including rural electrification associations, municipally-owned electric utilities, and competitive retailers.

Second, concurrent with the review of Rule 003, the AUC is introducing Rule 032. Rule 032 sets out the specific financial penalties for contraventions of the AUC rules listed in the penalty table of the rule.

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