Home Government Government of BC BC Utilities Commission has a new CEO, returning after 26 years

BC Utilities Commission has a new CEO, returning after 26 years

Mark Jaccard returns to the post after a policy/academic career.

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Friday September 15, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Spanning the footprint of the Office of the Premier, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, and the Ministry of Attorney General, yesterday came an announcement that the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) has a new chair and CEO.

Mark Jaccard is now in that post, effective the same day as the news release, September 14, 2023.

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Mark Jaccard has been appointed as the Chair & CEO of the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC). [SFU photo]

Jaccard, who previously served as the chair and CEO of the BCUC from 1992-97, is currently a professor at the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and an internationally recognized energy economist. Jaccard takes over from David Morton, who served as chair of the BCUC since his appointment in 2015.

Morton outgoing:

“We would like to thank David Morton, recognized as a leader in public utility regulation, for his many years of service to the province and to British Columbia,” said Premier David Eby. “

Mr. Morton is one of the longest serving chairs of the BCUC and has diligently worked to ensure proper oversight of B.C.’s utilities. Not only has he seen the province through significant change at both BC Hydro and ICBC during his tenure but under his leadership the BCUC became one of B.C.’s top employers. We wish him all the best.”

Rates over the years:

When Morton was the BCUC chair and CEO there were several steady BC Hydro rate increases which pushed up the cost of electricity for consumers over many years. Meanwhile, in the past five years (2019-23), BC Hydro’s rates have increased by a cumulative total of 2.1%; that is approximately 8.5% lower than the rate of inflation over the same period and equal to an average bill increase of approximately 0.4% per year.

Sustainable energy:

“Mr. Jaccard has deep experience and knowledge of sustainable energy policies. I am confident this will enrich his oversight of the important work being done to protect affordability for ratepayers and rise to the urgent challenge of climate change by growing B.C.’s clean economy,” said Eby in a news release yesterday.

Electricity, gas and auto insurance:

The BCUC is governed under the Utilities Commission Act and has a mandate to regulate B.C.’s public energy utilities, including BC Hydro and FortisBC, as well as the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC).

Impact on communities:

“I would like to welcome Mr. Jaccard back to this important role,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “With more than 30 years of experience working as a regulator, policy expert and academic – providing independent advice to governments of all stripes – I know that Mr. Jaccard’s leadership will benefit B.C.’s energy utilities and the people and communities that rely on them, as we work together to navigate the transition to a clean-energy future.”

Following the mandate letter for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, government has been working to review the role of the BCUC to better support B.C.’s clean energy transition, in alignment with the Province’s climate goals and affordability objectives.

Jaccard’s experience includes:

  • British Columbia Utilities Commission chair and CEO (1992-97)
  • Serving on Canada’s National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (2006-09)
  • Appointed to the Royal Society of Canada (2009)
  • Serving on BC’s Climate Action team (2008-11)
  • Contributor to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1990-current)
  • Member of the Climate Solutions Council (2020-23)

About BCUC:

In 2019, government passed legislation to enhance the independence and oversight of the BCUC, including restoring its authority to review and approve BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to meet long term electricity demand.

The BCUC regulates ICBC’s basic insurance rates under the Insurance Corporation Act and the Utilities Commission Act. Vehicle insurance holders are now saving $500 a year on their insurance, and ICBC’s basic rates have remained unchanged for a number of years, says the Premier’s office.

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Island Social Trends reports on news through a socioeconomic lens, looking for where society and economic are making progress. News is posted daily at IslandSocialTrends.ca .