Terms and Conditions – Transfer of Service
FortisAlberta Inc. (“FortisAB”) applied for approval of changes to its terms and conditions of electrical distribution service (“T&Cs”). FortisAB proposed the changes in response to directions issued by the AUC in Decision 27202-D01-2022, the decision regarding FortisAB’s compliance filing to 26668-D01-2021. FortisAB proposed the same changes to the T&Cs as it did in the first compliance filing to address better the instances where a FortisAB customer requests to transfer its service from FortisAB’s electric distribution system to a rural electrification association (“REA”). FortisAB clarified its method to address instances in which its customer requests to transfer electricity services from FortisAB’s electric distribution system to that of an REA.
The AUC approved the changes proposed by FortisAB.
Electric Utilities Act, SA 2003, c E-5.1 – s. 127.
Guarantees Acknowledgment Act, RSA 2000, c G-11.
In Decision 26668-D01-2021, the AUC determined that an REA payment to FortisAB must be included under s. 7.5(c) of FortisAB’s T&Cs to reduce the exit charges payable by the transferring customer. In Decision 27202-D01-2022, the AUC approved changes to the wording of s. 7.5 proposed by FortisAB. However, the AUC determined that the proposed method to calculate the exit charge and effect the transfer of a customer’s transfer from FortisAB to an REA lacked clarity and completeness and was not compliant with the AUC’s directions in Decision 26668-D01-2021.
To clarify the language and method to carry out the permanent disconnection, FortisAB restated and elaborated on the steps it would take to carry out a permanent disconnection arising from the transfer of a customer and the associated facilities to an REA.
EQUS REA LTD. (“EQUS”) raised several concerns with the proposed language at the end of s. 7.5 of the T&Cs and the proposed method to implement that change. Specifically, EQUS: (i) objected to FortisAB’s proposal to withhold the transfer of facilities pending both REA and final customer payments; (ii) argued that the Guarantees Acknowledgment Act would be triggered by FortisAB’s proposed contract termination proposal; and (iii) asserted that FortisAB’s method to implement its changes to the end of s. 7.5 would amount to unlawful security.
Submissions from EQUS did not convince the AUC that the language promoted a discriminatory treatment of customers, nor did it increase the regulatory burden and ambiguity. The AUC was satisfied that, as long as the proposed method to effect the transfer of the customer to an REA is adhered to, the Guarantees Acknowledgment Act issues should not arise. The AUC also saw no merit in the argument that FortisAB withholding the asset transfer until a residual exit charge payment is made is essentially a form of security.