The courthouse in Whitehorse on March 30, 2018. The Yukon Energy Corporation has filed a notice to the Yukon Court of Appeal over a decision by the Yukon Utilities Board limiting the corporation’s ability to charge for its demand-side management programs. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon Energy takes utilities board decision over electricity-use programs to court

The corporation filed a notice to the Yukon Court of Appeal on Oct. 21.

The Yukon Energy Corporation is taking a decision from the Yukon Utilities Board that denied the corporation the ability to collect costs for its electricity-saving programs to court.

Yukon Energy filed a notice to the Yukon Court of Appeal on Oct. 21.

The corporation is appealing a decision by the Yukon Utilities Board from Sept. 20. That decision was the result of a review and variance application the corporation filed in response to a board order from 2018.

In 2018, the board found that Yukon Energy’s demand-side management programs — for example, free electricity savings kits and rebates for Yukoners who purchase LED lightbulbs and block heater timers — should be run by the Yukon government “rather than having ratepayers fund these projects.”

The decision denied Yukon Energy the ability to collect costs for the programs via customers’ rates, allowing it to only continue one program aimed at converting its old streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs.

The corporation has defended the effectiveness of it programs in previous interviews with the News, with resource and planning engineer Stephanie Whitehead saying in a March interview that the programs have been “very successful.”

Yukon Energy’s chief financial officer, Ed Mollard, also told the News that the corporation was “well-equipped” to deliver the programs instead of the Yukon government.

“We delivered the programs and we got the results, so we should be compensated,” he said at the time.

“The other aspect is we’ve proven that we’ve got this capacity challenge, we’ve got these programs that we think will address those capacity problems, so the board should allow us to proceed with new programs.”

The corporation sought a review of the board’s 2018 decision in March; the board ultimately dismissed Yukon Energy’s application for review this September.

The notice filed to the Yukon Supreme Court alleges that the Yukon Utilities Board “erred in law” on four grounds in dismissing the review application and essentially affirming that its 2018 order was correct.

Among the alleged errors the corporation lays out are that the Yukon Utilities Board improperly interpreted a section of the Public Utilities Act; that it failed to “determine Yukon Energy’s rate base in accordance with Canadian rate-setting principles which require that the rates and the costs they are based on be just and reasonable to the utility as well as consumers;” that the board failed to consider Yukon Energy’s “uncontroverted evidence” in relation to its demand-side management costs; and “taking into account irrelevant considerations in concluding that the (demand-side management) costs were imprudently incurred.”

The notice also notes that the 2019 proceedings were conducted solely in writing and without an oral hearing, while the proceedings that resulted in the 2018 order consisted of a three-day hearing.

As of Oct. 22, the Yukon Utilities Board had not yet filed a response.

With files from Julien Gignac

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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