BCUC Issues New Rules for Participant Cost Awards
VANCOUVER – Today, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) issued Order G-178-22, which establishes Rules of Practice and Procedure for Participant Cost Awards (PCA Rules). The PCA Rules replace the Participant Assistance / Cost Award Guidelines (PACA Guidelines).
The PCA Rules take effect immediately and will be applicable for all proceedings initiated from today (June 30, 2022) onward. The existing PACA Guidelines will continue to apply for all in-progress and past proceedings, unless otherwise determined by the BCUC. The purpose of the PCA Rules is to encourage effective participation in BCUC proceedings that contributes to a fair, cost effective and timely completion of every proceeding.
The BCUC initiated a review of its PACA Guidelines in 2020 following feedback from stakeholders as part of a stakeholder survey. The review was aimed at improving and clarifying the BCUC’s participant cost award process; it included an internal review of the PACA Guidelines, a jurisdictional scan of other regulators and administrative tribunals, as well as engagement with external stakeholders.
In July 2021, the BCUC released Draft PCA Rules and sought feedback from stakeholders on the proposed changes, the associated forms, and the transition approach. The BCUC received feedback from 13 participants including municipalities, interveners representing a variety of customer types, and regulated entities. This feedback was used to finalize the new PCA Rules and associated cost award forms.
To review the BCUC’s PCA Rules, please see section VI of the BCUC’s Rules of Practice and Procedure here.
The BCUC’s jurisdiction to award participant costs is set out in section 118 of the Utilities Commission Act, which states that the BCUC “may order a participant in a proceeding before the commission to pay all or part of the costs of another participant in the proceeding”.
A panel of BCUC Commissioners appointed to the proceeding will decide whether PCA will be available. If PCA is available, eligible participants can submit PCA requests to the BCUC at the end of the proceeding, within five business days of the final order or report being issued. The panel will review PCA requests and determine the amount awarded. Prior to this review, the BCUC’s PACA guidelines were last updated per Order G-97-17 on June 15, 2017.
About the BCUC
The BCUC is an independent regulatory body, responsible for regulating BC’s energy utilities, as well as its compulsory automobile insurance rates, and intra-and provincial pipelines rates. The BCUC is also responsible for administering BC’s Fuel Price Transparency Act. It is the BCUC’s role to balance the interests of customers with the interests of the businesses it regulates. The BCUC carries out fair and transparent reviews of matters within its jurisdiction and considers public input where public interest is impacted.
Krissy Van Loon
Email: [email protected]