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ATCO Electric Ltd. Notice of Dispute for Micro-Generation, AUC Decision 28319-D01-2023

Link to Decision Summarized

Solar Power – Micro-Generation


Dale Sunderland, a “customer” under the Micro-Generation Regulation (“MGR”), submitted a micro-generation application to ATCO Electric Ltd (“AE”) proposing to build a 148.5-kilowatt (“kW”) solar photovoltaic system at the Sunderland Hog Farm in Paradise Valley, capable of producing annually approximately 296,667-kilowatt hours (“kWh”) of electric energy. ATCO Electric (“AE”), an “owner” under the MGR, disputed the application based on annual consumption history at the site, alleging that the generator is oversized since the site’s energy consumption in 2022 was 208,560 kWh. AE filed a notice of dispute with the AUC pursuant to s 2(2) of the MGR.


The AUC found that D. Sunderland’s proposed generating unit qualifies as a “micro-generation generating unit” under s 1(1)(h) of the MGR.

Pertinent Issues

In essence, the parties disputed whether the generating unit meets the condition in s 1(1)(h)(ii) of the MGR, which specifies that, inter alia, a micro-generating unit is intended to meet all or a portion of the customer’s total annual energy consumption at the customer’s site or aggregated sites.

AE argued that, because the generating unit will have the capability to produce 296,667 kWh, which exceeds the site’s 2022 annual consumption of 208,560 kWh, it is oversized and does not satisfy the requirements of MGR s 1(1)(h)(ii). D. Sutherland submitted that the requirement is met because the annual electricity needs are based on the site’s average energy consumption in the five-year period of 2018-2022, which was 309,360 kWh.

The AUC interpreted s 1(1)(h)(ii) of the MGR to permit consideration of a range of historical energy consumption data at the site when appropriate in the circumstances, rather than applying a narrow reading of the section and considering only the most recent full year of consumption. The AUC did not consider this interpretation to be contrary to the intent of the Electric Utilities Act.

In determining whether the generating unit satisfies s 1(1)(h)(ii), the AUC found that it was appropriate to use the five-year historical average energy consumption at the site, given the nature of the farming industry, including the associated fluctuation in energy needs and the atypical conditions affecting the site’s energy consumption in the very dry 2021 and 2022 years. The AUC determined that the generating unit satisfied s 1(1)(h)(ii) and met all other requirements of the MGR.

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