Liv Desaulniers (she/her/hers) serves as counsel in the Business Law Group at Cassels. Liv’s practice focuses on regulatory, environmental, and Aboriginal law. She offers expertise in electricity rate regulation and renewable energy project development with experience managing more than 30 complex electricity-related regulatory matters. Liv brings invaluable insight into the complex challenges faced by her clients, having served as Commission Counsel at the Alberta Utilities Commission and in-house at a major North American energy infrastructure company. She has dealt with regulatory matters before provincial and federal regulators and utilities commissions across the country. This experience includes advising on applications to build, operate, and discontinue power plants and rate regulation for transmission lines.
While Commission Counsel, Liv advised on over 30 rates-related proceedings, including large proceedings for the consideration and approval of transmission, distribution, and retail rates of public utilities as well as proceedings for the approval of the public utilities’ terms and conditions of service. As Commission Counsel, Liv also advised Commission members on the AUC’s legislative mandate as well as on regulatory, corporate, and legislative matters regarding applications to the Commission by gas and electric utilities seeking approval of their distribution, transmission, and retail rates. Liv also has significant experience with both performance-based and cost of service regulation.
Liv appeared as Commission Counsel on both public oral hearings and in a number of large proceedings, including:
- Proceeding 22542: Application by AltaLink Management Ltd. for final cost approval of 202 transmission capital projects completed in 2014 and 2015. The application included a reconciliation of the applicant’s direct assign capital deferral account in respect of transmission capital projects directly assigned to AltaLink by the Alberta Electric System Operator. The AUC approved final costs in the amount of $81.4 million to be charged to the Alberta Electric System Operator. The record of the proceedings contained over 200,000 pages of relevant evidence.
- Proceeding 22612: Application by AltaLink Management Ltd. to transfer certain transmission assets to PiikaniLink Limited Partnership (PLP) and to KainaiLink Limited Partnership (KLP). The Commission’s review of the application also included approval of PLP and KLP as new transmission facility operators in Alberta and their respective interim general tariffs. Financing for the acquisition of the transmission assets was over $70 million.
- Proceeding 2941: Generic proceeding initiated by the Commission to review and approve all aspects of the energy price-setting plans of regulated rate option (RRO) providers, including reasonable return, procurement, and risk compensation. RRO providers are electricity distributors who were mandated by legislation to provide their customers with a regulated default rate option for electricity services. The RRO electricity rate is approved by the AUC and is the default option for customers who have not chosen the services of a competitive retailer.
While in-house at a major North American energy infrastructure company, Liv advised her client on regulatory and commercial matters related to one of the largest climate-change initiatives being developed in Canada, a 1,000-megawatt energy storage hydroelectric facility. Liv was also instrumental in assisting her client to obtain required regulatory approvals to permit a hybrid power plant consisting of a solar facility and a long-duration flow battery energy storage system. When in service, the battery portion of this solar project is expected to be the largest flow battery energy storage facility in Alberta.
Liv’s experience allows her to bring a unique business perspective and in-depth understanding to her work, offering first-hand experience in dealing with her client’s legal and business challenges.
Liv received her LL.B. and Master of Laws degree from McGill University in Montreal. She is also a qualified lawyer in Brazil and is fluent in Portuguese and conversational in French and Spanish.