The Ontario Energy Board has approved a $6.28-million demand-side management (DSM) plan for Consumers' Gas Co. Ltd., a natural gas distributor. The plan, reviewed as part of a major rate proceeding, won the Board's first approval since it issued integrated resource planning guidelines for gas distributors in 1993. While noting that initial period rate impacts associated with the company's DSM program were not significant, the Board stressed that rate impact testing was an important component of the DSM screening process. The Board also warned against using DSM programs to address social issues by aggressively targeting the participation of low-income and Aboriginal customers.
In the absence of scientifically defensible values for environmental externalities, the Board ordered the company to assume acceptance of the government's target of stabilizing carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels by 2000. Nevertheless, it instructed the utility to focus ongoing DSM efforts on improving the efficiencies of natural gas use. It added that energy efficiency should not be "preempted or relegated to a subordinate priority by environmental objectives." Re Consumers' Gas Co. Ltd., E.B.R.O. 487, Nov. 15, 1994 (Ontario.E.B.).
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