Market – Enforcement
Enforcement staff of the AUC (“Enforcement Staff”) applied to the AUC for approval of a settlement agreement between Enforcement Staff and Persist Oil & Gas Inc. (“Persist”) related to a contravention arising out of the operation of a power plant without the required approval, including exceeding the noise levels permitted by Rule 012: Noise Control (“Settlement Agreement”).
The AUC concluded that the Settlement Agreement is in the public interest and approved it as filed. As a result, the AUC imposed a total penalty of $112,900, consisting of an administrative penalty of $11,475 and disgorgement of $101,425, which was based on the gross economic benefits earned during the operation period.
The AUC considered and approved the Settlement Agreement under ss 8, 23, and 63 of the Alberta Utilities Commission Act. The AUC applied the “public interest test,” which allows departing from a joint submission only if it would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or is otherwise contrary to the public interest.
In reaching the settlement, the parties considered factors listed in Rule 013: Criteria Relating to the Imposition of Administrative Penalties (“Rule 013”), such as the harm resulting from the contraventions, the material benefits to Persist and the duration of the harm, which was approximately one year.
Enforcement Staff also considered the mitigating factors outlined in Rule 013, noting that Persist was responsive and cooperative upon learning of the contraventions.
Enforcement Staff pointed out that reducing the disgorgement of economic benefits proposed in the Settlement Agreement was in the public interest, allowing the parties to address harm creatively and responsively, with guidance from Rule 013. The AUC did not find any reasons to depart from the Settlement Agreement and approved it as filed.