OEB Issues Cushion Gas Decision



    TORONTO, Jan. 30 /CNW/ - Today the Ontario Energy Board (the Board)
issued a Decision regarding treatment of the disposition of certain deferral
accounts by Union Gas Limited (Union). At issue is whether the Board has the
jurisdiction to allocate any portion of the proceeds from the sale of cushion
gas. In its Decision, the Board determined it has the power to apportion the
proceeds of such asset sales between the utility and the ratepayer.
    Through a procedural order the Board combined the Union matter with a
similar issue arising from an Enbridge Gas Distribution case.
    Cushion gas is a structural feature of the operation of the gas pool and
is therefore an undepreciated capital asset.
    This Decision arises from a review of a previous Board Decision on the
question.
    In making its Decision the Board noted that the statutory environment in
which Union sought direction from the Board is markedly different than that
which the Supreme Court of Canada considered in its decision in ATCO Gas and
Pipelines Ltd. v. Alberta (Energy and Utilities Board). In that decision, the
Supreme Court found that the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board lacked
jurisdiction to allocate the proceeds of a sale of land as between ratepayers
and the utility.
    The original panel will proceed to make the final determination regarding
the extent to which, if any, the shareholder and ratepayers should share the
proceeds from the sale of cushion gas.

    The Ontario Energy Board regulates the province's electricity and natural
gas sectors in the public interest. It envisions a healthy and efficient
energy sector with informed consumers, and works towards this vision through
regulatory processes that are effective, fair and transparent.
    For more information on the Board, please visit our web site at
www.oeb.gov.on.ca or contact the Consumer Relations Centre at 416-314-2455 or
toll-free at 1-877-632-2727.




For further information:

For further information: Vanda Wall, Ontario Energy Board, (416)
440-8149


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