OEB Issues Decision on 2008 Electricity Distribution Rate Application for Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Ltd.

    TORONTO, July 31 /CNW/ - Today the Ontario Energy Board (the Board)
issued its Decision on an application by Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Ltd.
(Guelph) for 2008 electricity distribution rates. New rates will take effect
the date the final Rate Order is issued.
    Distribution rates are set to recover the cost to deliver electricity to
consumers and reflect an individual utility's cost of service. Utilities apply
to have their proposed rates to deliver electricity reviewed by the Board
through a public process to determine what costs can be passed on to
consumers. Distribution rates are reflected in the "Delivery" line of
consumers' bills.
    In 2008, distribution rates are set using two different methodologies.
Most utilities have their rates set using incentive regulation guidelines
which provide a standard rate adjustment that accounts for inflation and
productivity improvements. Others have their rates set by way of a cost of
service review, in which the utility applies for rates based on the costs it
incurs to deliver electricity.
    For the rate year which starts on May 1, 2008, 21 utilities are having
their 2008 rates set by way of a cost of service rate review. 60 utilities are
having their 2008 rates set using the Board's incentive regulation guidelines.
Guelph had its rates set by way of a cost of service review.

    Key points in the Board's Decision include:
    -  The costs for operations maintenance and administration and the costs
       for capital expenditures were lowered from the level proposed;
    -  New, lower tax rates and the Board's recently updated cost levels for
       short term debt and common equity will be used to set rates;
    -  The smart meter rate adder will be increased to $1.00/per meter/month;
    -  Certain amounts claimed for collection through deferral accounts were
    -  Rates charged for Street Lighting and Sentinel Lighting will be raised
       to better reflect the costs to serve these customers.

    The Board directed Guelph to file a draft rate order, reflecting the
findings in this Decision, and a schedule of proposed final distribution rates
for 2008.
    Bill impacts resulting from 2008 distribution rate decisions are
announced after utilities submit draft rate schedules to the Board reflecting
the decision on distribution rates. The Board will announce the rate impacts
when it approves and issues the final rate orders to Guelph.
    A table of the estimated bill impacts on residential consumers is
available for individual utilities that have had rate orders issued by the
Board. This table will be published on the Board's website www.oeb.gov.on.ca.
    For more information please refer to the 2008 Electricity Distribution
Rates Backgrounder on the OEB website site at

    The Ontario Energy Board regulates the province's electricity and natural
gas sectors in the public interest. It envisions a viable and efficient energy
sector with informed consumers served by responsive 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: Paul Crawford, Ontario Energy Board, (416)

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