• Administrative Penalty Powers Given to BC Utilities Commission
  • November 26, 2012 | Authors: Jeff Christian; Clifford G. Proudfoot
  • Law Firm: Lawson Lundell LLP - Vancouver Office
  • Recent amendments to the BC Utilities Commission Act give the Commission significant new powers to issue “administrative penalties” and remedial orders.

    The Commission’s new powers include the authority to:

    • determine, after a hearing, that a person has contravened the Act, or any order or rule of the Commission;
    • impose administrative penalties for each day that the Act, order or rule has been contravened;
    • publicize the administrative penalty, and the reasons for imposing the penalty;
    • compel the refund of money to a “low-volume consumer” of natural gas, if the underlying contract is declared unenforceable; and
    • exclude administrative penalties from the cost of service included in utility rates.

    In addition, the amendments:

    • impose a form of vicarious liability on officers, directors or agents of a corporation that contravenes a Commission order or rule; and

    • increase the maximum fine a person is liable to pay for an “offence”, from $10,000 to $1,000,000.