Rates – COVID-19
The Utility Payment Deferral Program (“UPDP”) was announced by the Government of Alberta in March of 2020 to alleviate some of the financial hardship directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided Albertans with the opportunity to defer electricity and gas bills until June 18, 2020, without penalty.
The second phase of the program closed on June 18, 2021. In that phase, customers who deferred payments had until June 18, 2021, to repay their deferred amounts. This third phase runs until June 18, 2022. In this phase, any utility bill payment amounts that were deferred and not repaid will be collected through an electricity rate rider and a natural gas rate rider from all Alberta customers.
Sections 11 and 21 of the Utility Payment Deferral Program Act require the AUC to initiate a proceeding as soon as practical on or after June 19, 2021, to establish:
An electricity rate rider to recover the funding that has not been repaid to the Balancing Pool and the Alberta Electric System Operator by electricity service providers and to recover unpaid deferral amounts owing to self-funded electricity service providers.
A gas rate rider to recover the funding that has not been repaid to the Government of Alberta and the deferred gas transmission charges owed to the gas distributors and to recover unpaid deferral amounts owing to self-funded gas service providers.
The AUC has established the following process directions to expedite the rate rider proceedings:
Applications from all eligible applicants were due on Friday, July 16, 2021.
Eligible applicants are to submit their applications separately through eFiling using either the gas or electric application type: Utility payment deferral rate rider.
Active participation in the proceeding will be restricted to eligible applicants.
Any other person interested in this proceeding will be able to register in the proceeding as an observer but will not have active participant status.
Following the receipt of all applications, the AUC will consolidate them into a separate gas and electricity proceeding for issuing two rate rider decisions, one for each of the electricity and gas rate riders.