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- British Columbia. Public Utilities Commission
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The Public Utilities Commission was established in 1938 by the Public Utilities Act (Statutes of British Columbia, 1938, 2 Geo. 6, chap. 47) to regulate public utilities in the province.
A public utility is defined in the act as a person or company that owns or operates equipment or facilities for the: 1. transportation of persons or property over a railway, street-railway, tramway, or ferry for public or any corporation for compensation; 2. operation of a toll bridge; 3. conveyance or transmission of messages or communications by telephone or telegraph, where such service is offered to the public or any corporation for compensation; 4. production, generation, storage, transmission, sale, delivery, or furnishing of gas, electricity or steam, or any other agency for the production of light, heat, cold or power to or for the public or any corporation for compensation; 5. diverting, developing, pumping, impounding, distributing, or furnishing water to or for the public or any corporation for compensation; 6. transportation of persons or property by motor-vehicles for the public for compensation.
The Public Utilities Commission was a regulatory agency of the provincial government, operating under and administering the Public Utilities Act. It consisted of three members appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council for a period of ten years. Its primary responsibility was the regulation of rates charged, safety and standardization of service, and approval of construction of new facilities. The Commission’s function was quasi-judicial and it had the power to make legally binding rulings.
The Public Utilities Commission was terminated in 1973 when the Public Utilities Act was repealed. The functions of the Commission relating to energy (water, gas, electricity, steam/ light, heat, cold, power) were transferred to the British Columbia Energy Commission established at the same time under the Energy Act (Statutes of British Columbia, 1973, 21-22 Eliz. 2, chap. 29). Responsibility for the functions of the Commission relating to transportation and communications were transferred to the Dept. of Transportation and Communications. Responsibility for the functions of water utilities was transferred to the Comptroller of Water Rights.