Markets – Enforcement
The enforcement staff of the AUC (“Enforcement Staff”) applied for approval of a settlement agreement reached with ENMAX Energy Corporation (“EEC”) related to disclosure of confidential information by EEC in breach of a confidentiality order regarding EEC’s evidence in Proceeding 27495 (the “Settlement Agreement”). In the Settlement Agreement, the parties agreed EEC to pay a one-time penalty of two thousand and five hundred dollars for the contravention.
The AUC approved the Settlement Agreement between Enforcement Staff and EEC, as filed.
The AUC held that its jurisdiction to consider and approve the Settlement Agreement is grounded in its general powers in ss 8 and 23 of the Alberta Utilities Commission Act (“AUC Act”) and the administrative penalty provisions in s 63 of the AUC Act. The AUC applied the public interest test to negotiated settlements for enforcement proceedings, which was adopted from criminal law. The public interest test sets a high threshold for departing from a joint submissions (or negotiated settlements in the regulatory context), such that “a trial judge should not depart from a joint submission unless the proposed sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or is otherwise contrary to the public interest.”
The AUC noted that in the Settlement Agreement, the parties considered the factors in s 4 of Rule 013, more specifically the harm caused and its duration, who discovered the incident and the fact that this was not a repeat offence. The AUC also observed that EEC’s conduct in respect of both, its reaction to the misconduct and the extent of co-operation, is reflected in the Settlement Agreement, including the admitted contravention and agreed-upon administrative penalty.
As a result, the AUC was satisfied that the public interest test was met by approving the Settlement Agreement.