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Balancing Pool Application for Orders Permitting Sharing of Records Between Balancing Pool, URICA Energy Real Time Ltd. and Small Scale Power Producers, AUC Decision 26308-D01-2021

Link to Decision Summarized

Market Oversight and Enforcement – FEOC


In this decision, the AUC approved the application from the Balancing Pool, for the preferential sharing of records pertaining to the electricity and ancillary services markets that are not available to the public between the Balancing Pool, URICA Energy Real Time Ltd. (“URICA”), Innisfail Solar Corporation (“Innisfail Solar”), Elemental Energy Inc. (“EEI”) and Elemental Energy Renewables Inc. (“EERI”).

The Balancing Pool had brought an application under Section 3 of the Fair, Efficient and Open Competition Regulation (“FEOC Regulation”) for either orders to permit the preferential sharing of records that are not available to the public between the Balancing Pool, URICA and small scale power producers for which the Balancing Pool is acting as the electricity market participant or a determination that orders are not required in these cases.

Discussion of Issues and AUC Findings

Requirement for Individual Orders

Under Section 7 of the Small Scale Generation Regulation, the Balancing Pool has a statutory obligation to act as the electricity market participant on behalf of a small scale power producer, unless the owner of the qualified small scale generating unit requests otherwise.

The Balancing Pool explained that it does not have adequate personnel or the resources to accept energy or ancillary services dispatch orders in order to manage the output of small scale power producers in the Alberta energy or ancillary services markets on a 24-hour basis as required of an electricity market participant. To meet its obligation, the Balancing Pool entered into commercial arrangements with URICA, which provides a 24-hour real-time dispatch-desk service to clients for operational energy-market services, ancillary services, dispatch-down services and energy restatements for events at generators as required by the ISO rules. These arrangements necessitate that the Balancing Pool share records, including offer information not available to the public, for small scale power producers relating to the dispatch of electricity services with URICA.

As the Balancing Pool must act as the market participant for a small scale power producer, the AUC found that the exemption of Section 3(2)(e) of the FEOC Regulation is applicable. Accordingly, there was no need for an AUC order permitting the sharing of records not available to the public, as the Balancing Pool is an electricity market participant who is required to share the records with the small scale power producer according to the Small Scale Generation Regulation. However, this exception does not apply between URICA and the small scale power producers.

The AUC found that subsection 3(3) of the FEOC Regulation would support the request from the Balancing Pool for the issuance of a master order. However, the AUC noted that it preferred to issue preferential sharing of records orders for each small scale generating unit.

Provided the record-sharing arrangements with small scale power producers are approved, the AUC would issue separate orders for each small scale generating unit. If the Balancing Pool and the Market Surveillance Administrator (“MSA”) would prefer a specific form of order, they may draft one that is mutually agreeable, and the Balancing Pool may provide it with the next small scale power producer preferential sharing of records application.

Finally, the AUC agreed with the MSA that small scale power producers with a capacity of 5 MW or less do not require an information-sharing order, as they will not be submitting offers into the electricity market.

Innisfail Solar Corporation

The Balancing Pool advised that it will be acting as the market participant for Innisfail Solar regarding Innisfail Solar Project (“INF1”), which had been qualified as a small scale generating unit. Innisfail Solar is owned by EEI, and EERI is the asset and project manager of INF1. The Balancing Pool requested an order, if necessary, granting the sharing of non-public records between the Balancing Pool, URICA, Innisfail Solar, EEI and EERI.

AUC Findings

Subsection 3(3) of the FEOC Regulation authorizes the AUC to issue an order permitting the sharing of records on any terms and conditions that the AUC considered appropriate, provided that certain requirements were satisfied. The AUC found that those requirements were met.

The AUC was satisfied that the applicants had demonstrated that the sharing of records was reasonably necessary for the Balancing Pool to carry out its business on behalf of Innisfail Solar. It was further satisfied that the subject records would not be used contrary to the fair, efficient and openly competitive operation of the Alberta electricity market, including the conduct referred to in Section 2 of the FEOC Regulation and that the applicants would conduct themselves in a manner that would support the fair, efficient and openly competitive operation of the market. The AUC also found that the offer control limit of the entities was less than 30 per cent, as required by subsection 5(5) of FEOC Regulation. The AUC also noted that the MSA supported the application.

The AUC was prepared to issue an order allowing the Balancing Pool, Innisfail Solar, EEI and EERI to share records not available to the public with URICA, subject to some terms and conditions.

The AUC noted that, as the Balancing Pool will now be acting as the market participant for Innisfail Solar, the arrangements for the sharing of records, between Innisfail Solar, EEI, EERI and URICA, approved in Decision 25438-D01-2020, would be terminated concurrent with the approval of this application.

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