Who's Who in the Electricity Zoo

Who's Who in the Electricity Zoo


The AFREA has been busy keeping up with developments in the electricity sector and advocating on behalf of our member REAs. Listed below, with a summary description, are a few of the items we've been working on and information about the regulatory bodies we interact with when we represent you. 

  1. The Market Surveillance Administrator is reviewing the Regulated Rate Option at Alberta Energy’s request. On June 1, 2017, the Regulated Rate Option was capped at $0.068/kWh through passage of Bill 16 in the Legislative Assembly. The AFREA continues to provide feedback on this change and is working closely with the MSA.
  2. FortisAlberta Inc. has applied for an order from the Alberta Utilities Commission to: a) confirm its service areas on land annexed by municipalities, and b) compel REAs to turn over wires, substations, and corresponding members. AUC Proceeding 22164 is ongoing. It directly involves three REAs that are AFREA members. The AFREA is representing its members and one additional REA in disputing this application. We have engaged legal counsel and technical consulting expertise to assist us on.
  3. The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) is tasked with investigating ‘distribution-connected generation’. Proceeding 22534 is considering how renewable (solar, wind, hydro) and alternative energy sources could be expanded in Alberta to produce electricity close to power users. The AFREA is participating as a key stakeholder in this proceeding, at the request of the AUC.
  4. In June 2017 the AUC approved changes to Rule 024:  Rules Respecting Micro-Generation.  The AFREA has represented our members interests in this Consultation and there will be more details forthcoming as the Rule changes effective July 4, 2017.  

After 75 years in the business, the environment has likely never been more complex than it is now. Even in these far-reaching scenarios, we have not mentioned all the agencies involved in running Alberta’s electricity industry.

While we ask for your input into these cases, we recognize it’s a zoo – not just of technical detail, but of too many acronyms and players of whom to keep track. But... it is possible to get a handle on it. We've put together a list of “who’s who” to detangle it for you.

Thank you for representing your members and the unique nature of your REA when we've requested your input. It will continue to be needed! Please keep reading your E-News for updates in these matters.

You can influence the future of all REAs by staying engaged this way.


Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC)

Our principal regulator. The AUC operates with many of the same powers as a court of law. It approves:

  • utility rates charged by regulated retailers (Regulated Rate Option), but not the rates of competitive retailers.
  • new generation projects, but not wholesale electricity prices.
  • new transmission projects and prices to deliver higher-voltage electricity via transmission lines.
  • new distribution facilities and the prices charged to deliver lower-voltage electricity to homes and businesses.

Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)

The AESO operates the provincial power grid 24/7 by dispatching the power sold by generators, using the lowest-priced electricity first and then the next lowest price until the need for power is satisfied. It is a not-for-profit organization with no financial investment in the industry.

Balancing Pool

The Balancing Pool is an independent corporation created to market power from older generation contracts that were unsold after the electricity market was deregulated.

Market Surveillance Administrator (MSA)

The MSA monitors the wholesale electricity, retail electricity, and natural gas markets investigating issues that come to its attention through surveillance or complaints. The MSA may, at its discretion, issue fines, negotiate settlements or ask the AUC to hold a hearing.

Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA)

UCA represents the interests of consumers before proceedings of the AUC and other bodies. It also informs and educates consumers about electricity issues.

(Source: Adapted from UCA presentation, Alberta’s Electricity Regulatory System)