Indigenous groups have until Tuesday September 10 to submit letters of comments to a British Columbia Utilities Commission inquiry into the regulation of Indigenous owned and operated utilities.

On March 11, 2019, the Lieutenant Governor in Council requested the British Columbia Utilities Commission (“BCUC”) provide recommendations to the BC Government regarding the regulation of Indigenous utilities in British Columbia (the “Inquiry”). Order in Council No. 108 (the “OIC”) sets out the terms of reference and scope of the Inquiry. The BCUC established the Inquiry on March 19, 2019, and will provide its final report to the BC Government by January 31, 2020.

The BCUC is exploring whether Indigenous utilities in BC should be regulated. Its report will inform the BC Government’s approach to regulation of utilities owned and operated by Indigenous groups in British Columbia. As the Inquiry defines “Indigenous utilities” broadly, its outcomes may have significant impacts on any Indigenous community that wants to establish and provide utility services such as the distribution and sale of energy (electricity, gas, heat, etc.).

The BCUC is seeking feedback from Indigenous groups and other interested parties. To date, several Indigenous groups and industry groups have submitted written evidence and letters of comments to the BCUC. Aldridge + Rosling is representing the Nisga’a Nation in this Inquiry. The Nisga’a Nation is the only modern treaty nation participating as an intervener.

The deadline to submit written evidence for interveners has passed, but Indigenous groups and other parties may submit letters of comment until Tuesday, September 10, 2019. The BCUC is also holding information sessions in November 2019 in Prince George, Kelowna, Vancouver and Nanaimo to gather feedback on its draft report. For more information, please visit the BCUC website.