It’s been 18 months since the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) began its modernization journey. At that time, CEO Susanna Zagar committed to “earning the trust and respect of the sector, taking accountability through integrity of governance and independence of adjudicative decision making, while delivering value for money to the people of Ontario.”
Earlier this month, to mark the end of the OEB’s fiscal year, Zagar provided an update to stakeholders on the OEB’s activities and progress on meeting its strategic goals.
With a focus on the strategic pillars of protecting the public, driving energy sector performance, facilitating innovation and evolving toward becoming a top quartile regulator, the organization has made considerable progress since the start of the modernization program in October 2020. For example, it has:
- Driven energy sector performance by using the recently completed review of filing requirements for small utility rate applications to examine filing requirements for larger entities, reviewed reporting and record-keeping requirements to ease the burden for regulated entities, and enhanced activity- and performance-based benchmarking.
- Protected the public by carrying out dozens of compliance reviews and inspections, many of which led to improved service for consumers, and provided guidance to electricity distributors about meeting their responsibilities in the face of a potential shortage of smart meters.
- Facilitated innovation by taking steps to enable usage and integration of Distributed Energy Resources, refreshed the Innovation Sandbox and designing a new, optional, time-of-use price plan featuring a low overnight electricity rate.
- Evolved toward becoming a top quartile regulator by strengthening ties with stakeholders, adopting a digital-first strategy and enhancing human resources policies around training, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Zagar acknowledged that “much remains to be done” and committed that the organization would sustain its forward momentum in the current fiscal year.
“My commitment to you is to continue the disciplined work described in this letter, our Strategic Plan and Business Plan,” Zagar said. “So that the OEB can continue to earn your trust and recognition as a top-quartile regulator.”