Energy Law & Policy

Article excerpt

ENERGY LAW & POLICY

Gordon Kaiser and Bob Heggie, Editors, Carswell 2011

In Energy Law & Policy,1 Gordon Kaiser and Bob Heggie make an important contribution to the literature on law and policy in the continually evolving electricity and gas sectors. Mr. Kaiser and Mr. Heggie, veterans of the Canadian utility regulatory sector, have assembled and edited a topical collection of articles from a cross-section of leading academics, regulators, and experts. Mr. Kaiser, now an arbitrator in international and domestic energy disputes, served as Vice Chair of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) for six years where he authored a number of notable decisions.2 Prior to his appointment to the OEB, Mr. Kaiser acted as counsel on a number of high-profile energy and competition cases. Mr. Heggie is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Utilities Commission.3 Prior to his appointment in 2008, he served as Executive Manager of the Utilities Branch and as Associate General Counsel of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, during which time he led initiatives on gas and electricity restructuring.4

Energy Law & Policy is not a text book or a comprehensive overview of policy and regulation in the electricity and gas sectors, but, it is also more than a collection of articles. It is roughly organized around four subject areas - General Canadian Regulatory Principles and Developments, Challenges Arising from Deregulation, Green Energy Developments and Utility Rate Regulation - each of which contains articles on important topics within these subject areas. Further, while Energy Law & Policy is focused on the Canadian power sector - in particular, Ontario and Alberta, the only two provinces to have restructured their power markets - it should resonate with a broader audience. The articles in Energy Law and Policy touch on themes that are common to the evolution of the power sector across North America and Europe - e.g., intersection of policy and traditional regulation, changing role of utility regulators, implications of green energy development, promoting competition, monitoring and enforcing compliance, etc. In addition, several articles offer useful overviews on the fundamentals of energy regulation in Canada, current trends and developments in the Canadian gas and electricity sectors, and specific areas where the Canadian regulatory landscape is unique. At a time when North American power markets are further integrating - Keystone XL being a notable (and perhaps temporary) exception - and several Canadian jurisdictions are opening up opportunities for investment (e.g., Ontario's and Nova Scotia's feed-in-tariff programs, and Ontario and Alberta's competitive transmission procurements), these articles will be instructive for U.S. and other foreign readers.

Section I of Energy Law & Policy contains two very good general articles on administrative law and utility regulatory developments. In "Administrative Law and Energy Regulation," professor David Mullan, one of Canada's foremost administrative law experts, provides an overview of important constitutional, administrative, and regulatory law principles as they apply to the energy sector.5 In "Developments in Public Utility Law," Kaiser and Heggie contribute a lengthy article on developments in Canadian utility regulation.6 Together these two articles are excellent primers on important principles governing Canadian utility regulation, including the scope of utility tribunals' jurisdiction, standards of judicial review/appeal, disclosure requirements, solicitor-client privilege, the fair return standard, bypass/asset stranding, and so on. Of particular interest are Kaiser's and Heggie's analysis of several recent cases which have reinforced utility commissions' broad regulatory powers to protect consumers through the establishment of low-income rates and restrictions on utility dividend policies. In addition, Section I includes a paper by Justice David Brown on "Aboriginal Rights in Energy Infrastructure Development. …