Energy and Mines Statutes Amendment Act introduced

VICTORIA – The Province today introduced Bill 30, the Energy and Mines Statutes Amendment Act, 2012, to streamline and clarify regulations in four existing acts – the Oil and Gas Activities Act, the Utilities Commission Act, the Clean Energy Act and the Strata Property Act.

Changes to the Oil and Gas Activities Act will clarify the rules for municipalities and third parties doing work around a pipeline. The amendments will also simplify the BC Oil and Gas Commission’s role with National Energy Board regulated pipelines, broaden the rules for industry consultations, adjust maintenance requirements for industry roads on private land, and provide the commission with the authority to regulate the harvest of timber for oil and gas activities. These amendments will increase the efficiency of the commission and improve its ability to oversee responsible oil and gas development in the province.

Amendments to the Utilities Commission Act will empower the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to levy administrative penalties for non-compliance with the act. The maximum fine will be $1 million per day. The amendments will give the BCUC an effective tool to ensure utility companies, natural gas marketers and ICBC comply with the act. These changes bring B.C. in line with other similar Canadian and U.S. commissions.

The Clean Energy Act amendment will redefine self-sufficiency as recommended by last year’s BC Hydro review, eliminating the requirement for BC Hydro to acquire an extra 3,000 gigawatt hours per year of insurance energy by 2020. The change is designed to ensure B.C. families continue to enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates in North America.

Minor changes will also be made to clarify accountability under the Strata Property Act, allowing government to regulate when new strata corporations must prepare their first depreciation report. Strata corporations will also be required to prepare audited financial
statements and distribute those reports to strata lot owners within four months of the fiscal year end. The amendments are designed to ensure strata corporations report financial information to their members in a timely fashion.