This pamphlet provides an introduction to the B.C. Utilities Commission what it is, what it does, and why. THE COMMISSION The British Columbia Utilities Commission is an independent regulatory agency of the Provincial Government operating under the Utilities Commission Act. The Commission's primary responsibility is the regulation of the energy utilities under its jurisdiction to ensure that the rates charged for energy are fair, just and reasonable. It approves construction of new facilities planned by utilities and the issuance of securities by these companies. The Commission also entertains complaints from the public against the actions of utilities, and mediates disputes between utilities. The Government can refer matters to the Commission for review and advice. The Commission's function is quasi-judicial and its Decisions and Orders may be appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal on questions of law or jurisdiction. The Commission has issued Integrated Resource Planning ("IRP") Guidelines to the utilities under its jurisdiction to aid them in undertaking resource planning. These Guidelines require utilities to: - consider the full impact of acquiring potential resources (i.e. both private and social costs); and - consider both supply and demand resource options on an equal basis; and - provide for public involvement in the planning process. Each utility's IRP plan is reviewed by the Commission and forms part of the material against which specific utility applications are assessed. The Commission regulates one steam heat, six gas and seven electric utilities in the Province. Public hearings are conducted by the Commission on revenue requirements, rate design and the need for new facilities. The Commission may also hold hearings on issues referred by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. Recent examples include the Vancouver Island Natural Gas Pipeline Project; B.C. Hydro's Site C Dam Project; and B.C. Hydro's Energy Removal Certificate Application. The most current referral is the Kemano Completion Project. BROCHURES The Commission has prepared two additional brochures to assist the public in dealing with the Commission. An Introduction to the Hearing Process explains how the public may participate in a public hearing. Complaint Handling Procedures deals with lodging a complaint with the Commission regarding a utility. Copies of the brochures are available from the Commission upon request. ORGANIZATION The Commission is composed of two permanent and several temporary Commissioners who are supported by the following staff groups: Regulatory Affairs and Planning - Strategic Services - Electrical Engineering and Finance - Petroleum/Gas Engineering & Finance Information Services Administrative Services COMMISSION CONTACT For further information please contact the Commission Secretary: Robert J. Pellatt, Commission Secretary B.C. Utilities Commission Box 250, 900 Howe Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2N3 Telephone (604) 660-4700 Facsimile (604) 660-1102 B.C. Toll-Free 1-800-663-1385 A library of current documentation is also maintained at the Commission s office. Library hours are as follows: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.