The School Energy Coalition (SEC), established in 2004, is an initiative jointly sponsored by the Council of Directors of Education (CODE), the Council of School Business Officials (COSBO), the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) and the four School Boards' Associations, administered by OESC.
The SEC is registered as the official intervener at the Ontario Energy Board on behalf of all 72 District School Boards in Ontario. The intervention role aims to protect the financial interests of School Boards when natural gas and electricity utilities apply for increases in distribution rates for their energy sources. A summary of SEC's work is published on a quarterly basis in the SEC Status Report which is issued to all school boards.
The bulk of the cost of SEC's interventions is recovered from utilities under a system of cost reimbursement mandated and supervised by the Ontario Energy Board. The Energy Board allows interveners like SEC to claim reimbursement for participating in the regulatory process, up to certain maximum levels. Those maximums are established both on an hourly rate basis, and on a per project basis and were most recently adjusted in 2008. The reimbursement rates are significantly less than the market rates for the lawyers and consultants hired by SEC. SEC awarded a contract for this work through an RFP process in 2010 and recently extended this contract for an additional three years.
Other costs incurred by SEC are not recovered through the regulatory process. Costs such as accounting, office expenses, meeting costs, additional legal and consulting fees, etc. These additional costs are funded through a levy paid by each school board on an annual basis. The total levy requirement of $200,000 to cover these additional costs is allocated based on average daily enrolment.
Additional information regarding hearings, decisions, consultation/policy initiatives and electricity distribution rate applications can be found on the Ontario Energy Board website.