Framework for Review of Intervenor Processes and Cost Awards

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As part of our modernization journey, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) seeks to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our adjudicative processes.

On March 31, 2022, the OEB issued a letter to stakeholders seeking feedback on the Framework for Review of Intervenor Processes and Cost Awards (Framework). The Framework identified potential initiatives to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the OEB’s adjudicative process, particularly the role of intervenors within it, and sought feedback from stakeholders on the potential initiatives. The OEB also expressed an openness to hearing additional, new ideas for enhancing the adjudicative process.

Comments from stakeholders were received until May 1, 2022. The OEB has reviewed the comments and held internal discussions to determine and prioritize the projects recommended by participants. As a result, the OEB has developed a robust Action Plan for the Framework consisting of 11 projects – with five scheduled to be completed by the end of this fiscal year (March 31, 2023) and six to be completed by the end of next fiscal year (March 31, 2024).

Action Plan Summary

The following 11 projects constitute the OEB's Action Plan:

Near-term Projects

  • Substantial Interest: Clarify the meaning of substantial interest through revisions to the Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rules) or guidance documentation, or both, and examine the need to develop a standard form to be filled out by prospective intervenors that will accompany (or possibly replace) their intervention letter.
  • Intervention Letters and Annual Filings: Update the requirements for information to be filed by persons applying for intervenor status. Provide guidance on what constitutes a frequent intervenor and the purpose of annual filings.
  • Commissioner Training: Continue to provide ongoing training to Commissioners, with a specific focus on having a common understanding of active adjudication and how it can be used to ensure proceedings are more efficient and effective.
  • Active Adjudication Database: Create a database of active adjudication practices and ideas for the OEB to track and assess the efficacy of active adjudication in proceedings.
  • Standard Issues List: Develop a Standard Issues List for electricity distribution Rate applications.

Medium-term Projects

  • Cost Award Guidance: Develop guidance documentation that clarifies the rules and eligibility for cost awards, and appropriately accounts for collaboration in cost awards. As well, review the appropriateness of the fee tariff, but with a goal of funding any increase in the fee tariff with offsetting process efficiencies, so as to generally maintain the overall envelope of intervenor costs.
  • Cost Award Data Collection: Expand the data collected on cost awards and utility application costs to better understand the overall costs of utility applications, including cost awards.
  • Individual Intervenors: Examine the most efficient manner that individuals can participate in the adjudicative process, while still allowing the OEB to hear and consider an individual’s concerns and establish guidance documentation and/or updates to the Rules to implement any changes.
  • Engagement with Indigenous Participants: Examine ways to further engage with representatives of Indigenous communities on participation in our adjudicative process.
  • Issues List Process: Review the Issues List process, including when and how an Issues List is determined in a proceeding.
  • Expert Evidence: Examine the Rules to ensure that current practices associated with expert evidence are reflected and seek to provide clarity and guidance on requirements for expert witnesses/evidence.

As part of our modernization journey, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) seeks to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our adjudicative processes.

On March 31, 2022, the OEB issued a letter to stakeholders seeking feedback on the Framework for Review of Intervenor Processes and Cost Awards (Framework). The Framework identified potential initiatives to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the OEB’s adjudicative process, particularly the role of intervenors within it, and sought feedback from stakeholders on the potential initiatives. The OEB also expressed an openness to hearing additional, new ideas for enhancing the adjudicative process.

Comments from stakeholders were received until May 1, 2022. The OEB has reviewed the comments and held internal discussions to determine and prioritize the projects recommended by participants. As a result, the OEB has developed a robust Action Plan for the Framework consisting of 11 projects – with five scheduled to be completed by the end of this fiscal year (March 31, 2023) and six to be completed by the end of next fiscal year (March 31, 2024).

Action Plan Summary

The following 11 projects constitute the OEB's Action Plan:

Near-term Projects

  • Substantial Interest: Clarify the meaning of substantial interest through revisions to the Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rules) or guidance documentation, or both, and examine the need to develop a standard form to be filled out by prospective intervenors that will accompany (or possibly replace) their intervention letter.
  • Intervention Letters and Annual Filings: Update the requirements for information to be filed by persons applying for intervenor status. Provide guidance on what constitutes a frequent intervenor and the purpose of annual filings.
  • Commissioner Training: Continue to provide ongoing training to Commissioners, with a specific focus on having a common understanding of active adjudication and how it can be used to ensure proceedings are more efficient and effective.
  • Active Adjudication Database: Create a database of active adjudication practices and ideas for the OEB to track and assess the efficacy of active adjudication in proceedings.
  • Standard Issues List: Develop a Standard Issues List for electricity distribution Rate applications.

Medium-term Projects

  • Cost Award Guidance: Develop guidance documentation that clarifies the rules and eligibility for cost awards, and appropriately accounts for collaboration in cost awards. As well, review the appropriateness of the fee tariff, but with a goal of funding any increase in the fee tariff with offsetting process efficiencies, so as to generally maintain the overall envelope of intervenor costs.
  • Cost Award Data Collection: Expand the data collected on cost awards and utility application costs to better understand the overall costs of utility applications, including cost awards.
  • Individual Intervenors: Examine the most efficient manner that individuals can participate in the adjudicative process, while still allowing the OEB to hear and consider an individual’s concerns and establish guidance documentation and/or updates to the Rules to implement any changes.
  • Engagement with Indigenous Participants: Examine ways to further engage with representatives of Indigenous communities on participation in our adjudicative process.
  • Issues List Process: Review the Issues List process, including when and how an Issues List is determined in a proceeding.
  • Expert Evidence: Examine the Rules to ensure that current practices associated with expert evidence are reflected and seek to provide clarity and guidance on requirements for expert witnesses/evidence.
Page last updated: 04 Oct 2022, 12:59 PM