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Utility Payment Deferral Program: Various Applications for Funding Approval

Utility Payment Deferral Program: Various Applications for Funding Approval

AUC Decisions:

25585-D01-2020

25600-D01-2020

25590-D01-2020

25595-D01-2020

25575-D01-2020

25592-D01-2020

25576-D01-2020

25594-D01-2020

25586-D01-2020

25573-D01-2020

Rates – Deferral Program


Background

On March 18, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced that “Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic can work with their utility company to defer electricity and natural gas bills until June 19, 2020, without any late fees or added interest payments.” This payment deferral option applies to residential, farm and small commercial electricity consumers with sites that consume less than 250,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year (eligible electricity customer) and to residential, farm and small commercial natural gas consumers with sites that consume less than 2,500 gigajoules per year (eligible gas customer). The program is known as the Utility Payment Deferral Program.

On May 12, 2020, the Utility Payment Deferral Program Act (“UPDP Act”) was enacted to enable electricity service providers, gas service providers, and gas transmission providers to fulfill their obligations pursuant to the Utility Payment Deferral Program.

Applications

In May 2020, the following electricity service providers that were not regulated rate providers as defined in the Electric Utilities Act, filed applications pursuant to the UPDP Act:

(a)     1772387 Alberta Limited Partnership (Encor);

(b)     ATCO Energy Ltd.;

(c)      Campus Energy Partners LP;

(d)     Just Energy Alberta L.P. and Hudson Energy Canada Corp.;

(e)     Link Energy Supply;

(f)       PowerBill Utility Billing Solutions Inc.;

(g)     Sponsor Energy Inc.; and

(h)     Utility Network & Partners Inc.,

(the “Electricity Service Providers”).

The Electricity Service Providers requested the following:

Approval for funding from the Balancing Pool for bill payment amounts deferred by eligible electricity customers during the period from March 18, 2020 to various dates in May 2020 (deferral period).

In May 2020, the following entities that are gas service providers as defined in Subsection 12(1)(c) of the UPDP Act, filed applications pursuant to the UPDP Act:

(a)     1772387 Alberta Limited Partnership (Encor);

(b)     Access Gas Services Inc.;

(c)      ATCO Energy Ltd.;

(d)     Campus Energy Partners LP;

(e)     Gas Alberta Energy;

(f)       Just Energy Alberta L.P. and Hudson Energy Canada Corp.;

(g)     Link Energy Supply;

(h)     PowerBill Utility Billing Solutions Inc.;

(i)       Sponsor Energy Inc.; and

(j)       Utility Network & Partners Inc.,

(the “Gas Service Providers”).

The Gas Service Providers requested the following:

Approval for a loan from the Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity (Minister) for bill payment amounts deferred by eligible gas customers during the deferral period.

AUC Findings

Pursuant to Section 4 of the UPDP Act, an eligible electricity customer may enroll in a bill payment deferral program with their electricity service provider. The AUC reviewed the materials filed in support of the applications and found that the entities applying are electricity service providers with eligible electricity customers enrolled in the Utility Payment Deferral Program.

Pursuant to Subsection 8(1) of the UPDP Act, an electricity service provider with eligible enrolled electricity customers may apply to the AUC for funding from the Balancing Pool for the deferred bill payment amounts, other than for the portion of the electricity bill payment amounts that relate to transmission charges. The funding applications and requested funding amounts were approved as applied for.

Pursuant to Section 14 of the UPDP Act, an eligible gas customer may enroll in a bill payment deferral program with their gas service provider. The AUC reviewed the materials filed in support of the applications and found that the entities applying are gas service providers with eligible gas customers enrolled in the Utility Payment Deferral Program.

Pursuant to Section 18 of the UPDP Act, a gas service provider with eligible enrolled gas customers may apply to the AUC for a loan from the Minister for the gas bill payment amounts deferred by enrolled eligible gas customers, other than the portion of the gas bill payment amounts that relate to transmission charges. The loan applications and requested loan amounts were approved as applied for.

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