Electricity Export Application Service Standards FAQ

Version Date: December 2007

1. What are service standards?

Service standards identify specific service delivery targets or timelines so applicants can understand when they might expect a decision from the National Energy Board.

2. Why does the Board use service standards?

One of the key strategies for the Board’s Strategic Plan for 2007–2010 is to improve regulatory processes. The Board recognizes that an important aspect of efficient and effective regulation includes timeline certainty for processing of applications. In addition, the User Fees Act requires the Board to set and report on service standards to Parliament in order for performance to be measured and improved.

3. What are the service standards for electricity export applications?

The Board will categorize complete electricity export applications into one of three categories based on the complexity of the issues associated with that application. Based on the category assigned, each application will have a target date for release of the Board’s decision. In any permit application, applicants are required to notify the public through a Notice of Application/Directions on Procedure (NOA/DOP). The cycle time for each category starts the day following the completion of the NOA/DOP period[1].

[1] See FAQ #8 for an explanation of how the cycle time is calculated.

Service standards for electricity export applications
Category Complexity of Issues Electricity Export Decision Release
A Minor 80 per cent of decisions released within 40 calendar days following the completion of the NOA/DOP period
B Moderate 80 per cent of decisions released within 90 calendar days following the completion of the NOA/DOP period
C Major No service standard

4. Why is there no service standard for Category C applications?

Category C applications are very complex and can be precedent setting. As such, the Board has not defined a service standard as the decision timelines are highly variable for these applications.

5. What is considered a complete application?

The Board considers an application complete when it is filed with all the information identified in: (1) section 8 or 9 of the National Energy Board Electricity Regulations (Electricity Regulations) and Appendix III of the Memorandum of Guidance to Interested Parties Concerning Full Implementation of the September 1988 Canadian Electricity Policy revised 23 January 2003 (the MOG) or (2) the NEB application form for a blanket electricity export permit. In providing the information, applicants should endeavor to provide a complete and relevant response to each of the information requirements. The information requirements set out in section 8 must be met by applicants for authorizations for border accommodation transfers. The information requirements set out in section 9 must be met by applicants requesting authorization to export electricity other than border accommodation transfers. Alternatively, for an export permit request pursuant to section 9, applicants may satisfy the information requirements contained in the NEB application form[2] for blanket electricity export permits.

[2] This application form is only appropriate when neither the applicant, nor any of its affiliates, own, operate or have an interest in electrical facilities including generation, transmission or distribution in Canada.

For environmental information concerning applications other than border accommodation transfers, the Board requires export applicants to address the information requirements identified in subsections 9(n) and (o) of the Electricity Regulations as well as those identified in Appendix III of the MOG. Should an applicant wish to use the NEB application form for a blanket electricity export permit, the form incorporates the environmental information requirements mentioned above.

If an applicant does not or cannot supply the information identified above, it must supply an explanation in the application filing.

6. How does the Board determine which category best fits an application?

The Board will use the following guidelines to determine the appropriate category for each electricity export application:

Guidelines for electricity export application
Category Complexity of Issues Quantity of Information Requests Type of Information Requests Level of Third Party Interest
A Minor None to few Informal None
B Moderate Some Informal and Formal Moderate
C Major Numerous Formal (requiring major effort to respond and possibly multiple rounds) High

However, there will be occasions when an application does not exactly correspond to all of the elements contained within a specific category. The Board will then determine which category an application is most suited to and which will provide the applicant with the most realistic expectation of processing timelines.

7. How will I know what category my application is assigned to?

The Board will advise applicants of the assigned category and expected decision date within 10 days following the completion of the NOA/DOP period.

8. How is the cycle time calculated?

The cycle time represents the amount of time the Board requires to process an application. In the case of electricity export applications, the cycle time starts the day following the successful completion of the NOA/DOP period and ends on the day the Board decision is released. In addition, applicant time-outs will be tracked and those days will be excluded from the Board's cycle times.

The following example illustrates a Category A application that was completed within the 40 day service standard:

Example of a Category A application that was completed within the 40 day service standard
Application filed with the Board: June 12
NOA/DOP publication: June 15
NOA/DOP period complete: July 15
Cycle time start date: July 16
Applicant Time-out: August 5-16
Decision release date: September 5

Total cycle time: July 16 – September 5 = 52 days minus 12 time-out days = 40 days

9. What are time-outs?

Time-outs are periods where the Board has limited or no control over the processing of the application. For example, if an applicant has been asked to provide additional information, a time-out will apply to the period of time between the requested response date and the date on which the applicant provides its response. Another example of a time-out period is when an applicant requests the Board to put the application on hold until further notice.

10. Does the Board have standard information request (IR) response times?

In some cases, the Board requires additional information in order to complete its assessment of the application. The Board will request information by a certain date within its communication, either by letter or e-mail, to applicants. In general, for informal IRs communicated by e-mail, the Board targets seven calendar days for response. For formal IRs communicated by letter, the Board will set an appropriate target date for a response based on the complexity and specific issues associated with the IRs. Any time required to respond to the IRs beyond the requested response date will be tracked and excluded from the target cycle time for that application.

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