Electricity Regulation & Reliability
British Columbia has jurisdiction over the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity within its provincial boundaries. The federal government has jurisdiction over electricity exports and international and designated interprovincial transmission lines.
Collaboration & Reliability
British Columbia must also work with other jurisdictions to make sure we have electricity when we need it, and as such, B.C.’s transmission system is part of a larger interconnected power grid, called the Western Interconnection. This grid spans B.C. and Alberta, 14 western states, and the northern portion of Baja California in Mexico.
As part of the Western Interconnection, the Province collaborates with two specific groups to make sure the electricity supply is reliable:
- The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC): a not-for-profit entity whose mission is to ensure the reliability of North America’s electricity system by developing and enforcing reliability standards
- The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC): a regional entity responsible for coordinating and promoting reliability in the Western Interconnection
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity in the United States.
Regulation & the BCUC
Most Canadian provinces, territories, and American states have a board, commission, or panel similar to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC). Their common mandate is to balance both the interests of the consumer and the utility company.
Under the Utilities Commission Act, the BCUC regulates the supply of electricity and natural gas utilities in B.C., sets the rates that homeowners and businesses pay, and approves utilities' revenue requirements and rates as well as capital projects and their costs. It also has the authority to adopt standards established by NERC to ensure B.C. homes and businesses get reliable electricity where and when they need it.
The Utilities Commission Act was amended in 2008 to create a mechanism for introducing mandatory reliability standards for B.C.’s electricity system. This amendment assigns the Commission the authority to adopt standards as established by the NERC and WECC. To date, over 100 standards have been adopted, relating to a wide range of requirements such as emergency response planning, physical equipment standards, and the cyber security of information technology (IT) systems.
- Learn more about the BCUC's reliability standards
- Learn more about the BCUC's independent core review