Electricity Filing Manual – Chapter 1 – Introduction

Table of Contents

1.1 Scope and Purpose of the Manual

Electric utility companies regulated by the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CER Act) are required to obtain approval from the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator (Commission) to construct new facilities or modify or abandon existing facilities and export electricity. Facilities include a transmission line and associated equipment, such as at a substation.

The Filing Manual is designed to provide guidance as to the type of information the Commission would typically need to make a decision concerning the issuance of a permit or certificate for an IPL.

The Filing Manual is also designed to assist applicants in understanding why information is required and how it is assessed by the Commission, so that applicants can therefore understand the level of detail that is needed.

This manual is not applicable to electricity exports or to other areas of CER jurisdiction such as pipelines or oil and gas activities. Parties may wish to contact the CER for further advice or guidance on these other activities.

1.1.1 Transition from National Energy Board to Canada Energy Regulator

On August 28 2019 the CER Act came into force, replacing the National Energy Board Act. The CER Act introduces a modern governance structure with clear separation between key functions:

  • An independent Commission, headed by a Lead Commissioner, to adjudicate projects (i.e., hearings)
  • A Board of Directors, led by a Chair, to provide strategic oversight
  • A Chief Executive Officer, accountable for leading the organization and delivering results

Every decision or order made by the National Energy Board is considered to have been made under the CER Act and may be enforced as such. Every certificate, license or permit issued by the National Energy Board is considered to have been issued under the CER Act. Those instruments remain in force for the remainder of the period during which they would have been in force had the CER Act not come into force.

Regulations made under the National Energy Board Act remain in force under the CER Act until they are repealed or others made in their stead, as per the Interpretation Act. Updates to regulations are being implemented through a phased approach, starting with the Transitional Regulations for the Purpose of the National Energy Board Cost Recovery Regulations. Our CER “Acts and Regulations” web page will be regularly updated with opportunities to provide feedback on regulatory development and notifications of regulatory changes.

1.2 Canada Energy Regulator Expectations

This manual sets out the information requirements the CER expects in an application and also provides guidance on those requirements. The CER expects the applicant to include all necessary and sufficient information to explain and support the application.

When seeking approval, applicants must submit applications or information filings to the CER that enable the Commission to:

  • evaluate the overall public good that the facilities requested can create as well as its potential negative aspects;
  • weigh the various impacts; and
  • make an informed decision that balances various interests.

While it is ultimately the responsibility of the applicant to make its case before the Commission, this manual provides direction regarding the information the Commission would typically expect to see addressed in a filing. Complete filings should allow the Commission to carry out more consistent assessments with fewer information requests and, therefore, shorten timelines required to make a decision.

As will be seen from the detailed requirements, the Commission’s assessment of proposed projects includes, along with other considerations, a risk-oriented approach that considers the probability and consequence of potential issues. The level of detail for any particular issue in an application should therefore consider this.

1.3 Content Organization

The filing requirements are generally presented in the following format:

  • a Goal statement that summarizes the subject matter of the information to be provided;
  • Filing Requirements that specify the information needed;
  • a Guidance section that provides direction regarding, for example, the level of detail, potential issues and information references; and
  • “FYI” (for your information) grey boxes that provide direction for when further information may be appropriate, where further guidance can be found, ‘off-ramps’ for when additional information may not be required, and various other tips, examples, and reminders.

1.4 Confidential Filing

An applicant may request that the CER treat a portion or section within an application as confidential in accordance with s. 60 of the CER Act. If the Commission is satisfied that the filing meets the conditions set out in s. 60, it may take any measures and make any order that it considers necessary to ensure confidentiality. One such measure is that only select CER staff and Commissioners responsible for the consideration of the filing would have access to the information and the information would not be available to the public.

Applicants for all requests made pursuant to s. 60 or s. 61 of the CER Act must provide:

  1. A cover letter containing the request and reasons for the requests, as well as a summary of the nature of the information to be treated confidentially;
  2. If possible, a redacted version of the filing (which does not contain the information requested to be kept confidential); and
  3.  One unredacted copy of the filing that the applicant requests to be kept confidential. The filing must be provided via hand delivery, ordinary mail, registered mail or courier to the Secretary of the Commission in a double sealed envelope under confidential cover.

1.5 Previously Filed Material

If an applicant wishes to refer to documents previously filed with the CER and those documents are still current (e.g., company manuals, programs, standards or procedures), rather than resubmitting the documents, the applicant may:

  1. indicate when, under what circumstances and under what CER file number (if known) the information was filed;
  2. identify the document and its version; and
  3. identify the section(s) of the document being referenced.

1.6 Pre-Application Meetings Guidance Notes

Applicants may request a pre-application meeting to clarify filing requirements with CER staff. The Pre-Application Meetings Guidance Notes describe the process for requesting a meeting. These can be found on the CER website.

1.7 Filing with the Canada Energy Regulator

Parties with the ability to file electronically are expected to file documents through the CER’s electronic document repository. Any person who has the ability to access documents through the repository must accept service of a notification that the document is in the repository rather than requiring that a hard copy of the document be served.

For more information about filing electronically, please refer to the Filers Guide to Electronic Submission and the Memorandum of Guidance on Electronic Filing. Both of these documents are available on the CER’s internet site.

Please note that e-mails are not considered electronic filing and will not be accepted in a proceeding.

The CER’s electronic document repository will contain the full text of only those documents filed electronically (following the procedures mentioned above). When documents are filed by hard copy or facsimile, the CER may create an electronic placeholder. This placeholder indicates that a document has been filed in hard copy (and is available in the CER’s library) but it will not be possible to view or search these documents on the electronic document repository.

If you are filing an application as hard copies, you must file 15 copies. Please use pressboard report covers rather than plastic binders. Pressboard covers are more compact and durable, and a large amount of plastic waste will be avoided.

If you file electronically, one hard copy must be subsequently filed. The hard copy must have attached to it a signed copy of the Electronic Filing Receipt that the system will return to the filer upon receipt of the electronic document. Please file your completed application with the CER and address it to:

Secretary of the Commission
Canada Energy Regulator
Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2R 0A8
Telephone: 403-292-4800 or 1-800-899-1265
Facsimile: 403-292-5503 or 1-877-288-8803

1.8 Updates

It is the CER’s intent to update this document as necessary. The CER would appreciate any comments users may have regarding the content, usability or other matters associated with this document that could assist with future updates and revisions.

All comments may be directed to the CER by:

E-mail: FilingManual@cer-rec.gc.ca
Facsimile: Secretary at 403-292-5503 or 1-877-288-8803
Telephone: 1-800-899-1265

Mail:

Secretary of the Commission
Canada Energy Regulator
Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
T2R 0A8

The CER will communicate its future revision process and schedule and any interim updates on the website.

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