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AUC Bulletin 2019-01: Revision to AUC Rule 020: Rules Respecting Gas Utility Pipelines

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Pipeline Applications – Proposed Amendments

The AUC is seeking written feedback, comments, and suggestions regarding proposed changes to gas utility pipeline applications by March 1, 2019.

The AUC is responsible for approving new gas utility pipelines and amendments to existing gas utility pipelines under the Alberta Utilities Commission Act, the Gas Utilities Act and the Pipeline Act. In Alberta, gas utility pipelines are owned by ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd. (“ATCO”) and AltaGas Utilities Inc. (“AltaGas”).

While the AUC is the approving authority for gas utility pipelines, the AER includes all approved gas utility pipelines in its pipeline database. Accordingly, when the AUC approves a new gas utility pipeline or an amendment to an existing gas utility pipeline, the AER database must be updated to include the new pipeline or reflect the amendments to existing pipelines.

Currently, the AUC issues a decision report and a licence for each gas utility pipeline application, regardless of the scope or nature of the application. If the AUC approves an application, the AUC then initiates updates to the AER’s pipeline database by filing an application through the AER’s OneStop system.

Proposed Changes

The AUC proposed to make two material process changes to the AUC’s application process for gas utility pipeline applications.

(a) The AUC will continue to issue a licence for all approved applications. However, the applications to update the AER database, through its OneStop system, for all AUC approved applications will be made by the owners of the gas utility pipeline, ATCO and AltaGas, and not by the AUC.

(b) The AUC will issue an updated licence but no decision report for pipeline amendment applications that address minor, administrative changes (Tier 1). Applications involving approvals for more significant changes will continue to receive both a decision report and a licence from the AUC (Tier 2).

Application Groups

The AUC proposed grouping gas utility pipeline applications into two tiers:

(a) Tier 1 applications relate to amendments for administrative changes necessary to ensure accurate and reliable pipeline records or applications for projects with no customer-cost implication; and

(b) Tier 2 applications relate to all other projects, including:

(i) applications for new projects; and

applications for amendments to existing projects that will have cost implications to customers and projects that involve ground disturbance and construction activities, even if there is no cost impact to customers.

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