Description and Background
The Province of New Brunswick will restructure the Energy and Utilities Board to consist of exclusively full time members.
The New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) is an independent regulatory agency established by law. Agencies like the EUB are established to regulate markets served by natural monopolies, such as electric and natural gas utilities, to ensure fair and reasonable rates. The mandate of the EUB is simple — to serve the public interest. This requires a balance between the interests of ratepayers and the interests of the utilities, enabling them to provide a beneficial public service and providing the opportunity to maintain sustainable operations.
The EUB follows a formal hearing process that allows all interested parties the opportunity to present evidence. This process removes the decision-making power from government departments and places it in the hands of a board whose members and staff have the independence, expertise, experience and discretion to make decisions in the public interest.
The EUB is made up of two full-time and eight part-time members appointed by government. The full-time chair and vice-chair are appointed for ten and seven years, respectively; other members are appointed for terms of between two and five years. The board must have a panel of at least three to exercise its powers.
There are increasingly greater demands being placed upon the EUB, in terms of both the volume and complexity of regulatory proceedings that it faces on an ongoing basis. An adequate number of full-time members would help the EUB overcome scheduling issues and would ensure that there is a greater continuity and consistency of experience and expertise in the Board’s makeup.
This plan will address the need to (a)have all board members possess a high degree of regulatory experience and expertise; (b)make the Board more efficient in its mandate through full-time availability for regulatory processes, decision making and administrative functions; and (c)reduce loss of continuity and depth of expertise from Board member attrition and term expirations.
Key Objectives Served by this Action
Effective Regulation – A complete panel of full-time Energy and Utility Board members would greatly contribute to the goal of effective regulation by providing the knowledge base needed in an increasingly demanding and complex regulatory environment.