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AUC Bulletin 2019-08: Changes to the AUC’s Application Process for Gas Utility Pipeline Applications

Link to decision summarized

Rule 020 – Amendments – Gas Utility Pipeline Applications

The Alberta Utilities Commission (“AUC”) regulates applications for new gas utility pipelines and for 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 pipelines owned by ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd. (“ATCO”) and AltaGas Utilities Inc. (“AltaGas”), are operated at pressures greater than 700 kilopascals and are licensed under the Pipeline Act.

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 reflect the amendment.

Currently, the AUC issues a decision report and a licence for each gas utility pipeline application. If the AUC approves an application, it then initiates updates to the AER’s pipeline database by filing an application through the AER’s OneStop system to reflect the amendment it approved.

The AUC proposed two material process changes to its application process for gas utility pipeline applications. First, while the AUC would continue to issue a licence for all approved applications, the AUC would discontinue filing related applications to update the AER database using the OneStop system on behalf of ATCO and AltaGas. Instead, ATCO and AltaGas would be responsible for filing the OneStop applications following approval from the AUC. Second, the AUC would continue to issue updated licences for pipeline amendment applications that address minor, administrative changes, but would no longer issue decision reports for these minor applications. The AUC would continue to issue licences and decision reports for all other gas utility pipeline applications.

The licence holder has all the pertinent information related to the pipeline that is the subject of the application. Therefore, the AUC was satisfied that the changes proposed to its application process for gas utility pipeline applications acknowledged that it was more efficient for the holder of the gas utility pipeline licence to make the necessary updates to the AER database.

The changes will be implemented by amending Section 5 of Rule 020: Rules Respecting Gas Utility Pipelines and are effective on August 1, 2019.

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