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Changes to the AUC Participant Involvement Program and Related Information Requirements, AUC Bulletin 2021-15

Link to Bulletin Summarized

Process – COVID-19

In response to restrictions and public health measures having been lifted in Alberta, the AUC introduced changes to its participant involvement program (“PIP”). These changes reduce the notification period and remove restrictions on permissible meetings and consultations for applicants while encouraging practical flexibility and stakeholder preferences. The AUC expects these changes to support regulatory efficiency.

In 2020, to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to its stakeholders, its employees, and its work critical to Alberta’s essential utility services, the AUC implemented changes and requirements regarding its PIP in Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations and Hydro Developments and Rule 020: Rules Respecting Gas Utility Pipelines.

As COVID-19 related health measures have been lifted, the AUC made further changes to its PIP requirements. These new requirements are the following:

  • Given the possibility that different communities may be subject to varying levels of local COVID-19 response or restrictions, applicants must give stakeholders a minimum of 14 calendar days to receive, consider, and respond to project notifications. The AUC recognizes that all communities are not in the same state of readiness to reopen, and applicants should give extra time where warranted. The Commission will then assess the adequacy of PIPs on a case-by-case basis.

  • Open houses and town hall meetings are no longer disallowed, and the AUC no longer discourages face-to-face consultation but recognizes the continued practicality of alternative communication. Applicants have the discretion to consider whether such forms of communication are appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account expressed preferences of stakeholders for a certain form of communication where possible.

  • Applicants must provide electronic lists of stakeholder contact information in the format required in Bulletin 2020-13.

The AUC repeated its encouragement and expectation of applicants to be sensitive to the potential ongoing capacity challenges of Indigenous groups and to build additional time into their PIPs.

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