The PUB's mandate, regulatory functions and limitations are set out in provincial legislation. It has broad authority to act in the public interest of Manitobans which it carries out by balancing the interests of ratepayers with the financial health of the utility.
The Public Utilities Board Act This Act outlines the mandate, responsibilities and procedural operations of the PUB. It includes directions regarding the Board's structure, composition, authority, appeals processes, consultancy rates as well as the procedural rules for Board hearings. It outlines, in broad terms, the obligations of Board members. These provisions are articulated in more detail in the Board's code of professional and ethical responsibilities. The Public Utilities Board Act contains the most relevant legislative information on Board operations and procedures.
The Crown Corporations Public Review and Accountability and Consequential Amendments Act This Act outlines the composition, structure and procedural rules applicable to the governing board(s) of Manitoba Crown Corporations namely-Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Public Insurance and the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission. This legislation also directs that no change in rates for services by Manitoba Hydro or Manitoba Public Insurance shall be made and no new rates for services shall be introduced without PUB approval. Moreover, the Act clearly spells out the issues that may be considered in a rate review by the Board including:
- The amount required to provide sufficient monies to cover operating, maintenance and administrative expenses of the Corporation
- Interest and expenses on debt incurred for the purposes of the Corporation by the government
- Interest on debt incurred by the Corporation
- Reserves for replacement, renewal and obsolescence of works of the Corporation
- Any other reserves that are necessary for the maintenance, operation and replacement of works for the Corporation
- Liabilities of the Corporation for pension benefits and other employee benefit programs
- Any other payments that are required to be made out of the revenue of the Corporation
- Any compelling policy considerations that the Board considers relevant to the matter of interest before it
- Any other factors that the Board considers relevant to the matter of interest before it
The Consumer Protection Act This Act outlines regulations for various financial and economic sectors in Manitoba, including the regulation of loans, leases, prepaid services and other financial service contracts in order to ensure fairness and equity for citizens. This Act is relevant to PUB due to its role in regulating government cheque cashing and making recommendations to government regarding the provincial payday loan industry.
The PUB's responsibilities for payday loans are outlined in some detail in the Act, including the requirement for Board review of the "cost of credit rates" charged by payday lenders, meaning the interest and service fees incurred by payday loan customers. These reviews require the Board to analyze the formulas involved in setting maximum cost of service rates within this industry. The PUB must also review and determine fee rates for government cheque cashing services; this review is done every three years.
The Municipal Act This Act outlines the roles, responsibilities and governing procedures of municipal government and administration in Manitoba, As such, it also spells out the rules and procedures for the administration of municipal water and wastewater utilities. The Act requires municipal governments to seek Board approval for any rates or adjustment to the rates charged by municipal water and wastewater utilities. The Act also prohibits Manitoba municipalities from running budget deficits and, as such, requires a municipality to seek Board approval for any deficit and its method of recovery.
This Act outlines the PUB's responsibility for the oversight and approval of gas pipeline construction within the province of Manitoba. The Act describes the procedures that natural gas suppliers must follow in order to receive approval for gas pipeline construction from the PUB. Both Centra Gas (a subsidiary of Manitoba Hydro) and private natural gas marketers are subject to Board oversight of pipeline construction.
The Gas Allocation Act This Act outlines the responsibilities of the PUB regarding the balance between supply and demand in Manitoba's natural gas market. This includes the PUB's role in mediating contracts between natural gas suppliers and Centra Gas as the distributor, as well as contracts between Centra Gas and natural gas customers in Manitoba.
The Greater Winnipeg Gas Distribution Act This Act outlines the PUB's responsibility for the oversight and approval of gas pipeline distribution by the Greater Winnipeg Gas Company.
The City of Winnipeg Charter Act This Act specifically excludes the PUB from regulating water and wastewater for the City of Winnipeg, including the authority to set rates.
The Manitoba Water Services Board Act This Act establishes limitations of the PUB's role with regards to water and wastewater utilities managed by the Manitoba Water Services Board. Water and wastewater utilities that are managed by the Water Services Board are exempt from direct regulation by the PUB. The PUB acts as the appeal body for consumers for decisions made by the Manitoba Water Services Board. This Act also outlines the appeal process and the legislative responsibilities of the Manitoba Water Services Board.
The Emergency 911 Public Safety Answering Point Act This Act outlines the Board's role in regulating the licensing and services of emergency public safety phone lines, such as 911 for municipal police and phone lines for the Manitoba RCMP. The Board may hear appeals from service providers who were refused a license.
The Highways Protection Act
This Act outlines the legislative regulations and restrictions for the planning of highways in Manitoba, administered and enforced by the Manitoba Highway Traffic Board. The PUB acts as an appeal tribunal for decisions made by the Highway Traffic Board. These appeals usually involve driveway access to provincial highways or placement of signs, especially electronic signs, alongside Manitoba highways.