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Regulatory Requirements for Municipal Utility Corporations: Recommendations from the British Columbia Utilities Commission

In recent decades local government utility corporations have proliferated in British Columbia and provided a mechanism through which municipalities and regional districts have been able to provide energy utility services to its residents through a legally distinct corporate entity owned and operated by the local government.

With local governments increasingly electing to exercise their statutory authority under section 185 of the Community Charter to incorporate local government corporations as a vehicle through which they can provide energy utility services to its residents, inquiries into whether such local government corporations may be regulated under the Utilities Commission Act (the “Act”) or are exempt from its statutory requirements became a priority for the British Columbia Utilities Commission (the “Commission”).

On November 10, 2022, the Commission released the stage 1 report (the “Report”) of the Inquiry into the Regulation of Municipal Energy Utilities. The Report addresses (1) whether a local government corporation wholly owned and operated by a local government and providing energy utility services exclusively within that local government’s boundaries, meets the municipal exclusion set out in the Act and (2), if not, whether the provision of such energy services should be regulated under the Act.

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