In early March, Direct Energy filed a motion with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to "review and vary" its decision in the 2006 Enbridge Rates case, a decision which may require the separation of the Enbridge and Direct Energy bills by Jan. 1, 2007. Direct Energy submitted that it would need between 16 and 24 months to investigate, contract for, and implement new billing arrangements.

The Board heard this motion in April and issued its ruling. In its decision, the OEB held its ground on the original decision but then retracted its requirement for the separation of bills by Jan. 1, 2007.

"The Board will not vary its decision in response to this motion. The Board will clarify its decision by confirming that, since Enbridge Gas Distribution has stated that it will be presenting a proposal for shared bill access, Enbridge will not be required to explain to the Board how it will provide a stand-alone bill by Jan. 1, 2007."

The HVAC Coalition's interpretation of the Board's original decision was that the Jan. 1, 2007, deadline would come into effect if the Board was not satisfied by the bill Enbridge brought forward. This was also the interpretation of Direct Energy. It now appears, however, that the Board will not impose a deadline for any changes until it has heard Enbridge's proposal for providing multi-party access to the bill.

"Although it is indeed possible that the Board will ultimately reject Enbridge's proposal, the [original] decision did not set a timetable for the provision of a stand-alone bill in the event that Enbridge's proposal proves unacceptable, either to the Board or to Direct Energy. If this eventuality comes to pass, it will be within the power of the panel hearing the 2007 rates application to make a determination regarding the timing of a stand-alone bill," said the OEB.

The HVAC Coalition is reportedly disappointed with this interpretation. It may delay implementation of a billing arrangement that the industry considers acceptable.

Publication date: 05/01/2006