The Public Utilities Board today ordered Manitoba Public Insurance to answer a number of outstanding information requests in regards to its request for a 3.4 per cent Autopac rate increase for next year.
The PUB and MPI are embroiled in a dispute over how much internal information the Crown auto insurer must provide to the PUB and interveners to determine if the rate request is justified.
MPI has argued that by asking for information outside of compulsory driver and vehicle insurance data, the PUB is acting outside of its legislative jurisdiction and duplicating the work done by other government bodies that oversee MPI.
However, in today’s order, the PUB said it disagreed and that there was no overlap or conflict.
"Legislative authority may be given to various statutory bodies and is presumed to be integrated within a plan of the legislature, to work harmoniously," the PB said in its decision.
MPI has also said it is concerned about the sheer volume of information requests or questions posed by the PUB and interveners, and has said it won’t answer many questions because they do not pertain to rates.
The PUB said MPI must answer those questions that go to its operational costs and investments to allow the PUB to consider whether savings to Manitobans are maximized and to give the PUB a picture of MPI’s overall financial health.
"The board also accepts that it cannot make declarations of relevance through which its jurisdiction can be expanded, but finds that in the context of its jurisdiction to set basic rates, it is the board, and not MPI, that determines the relevance of evidence to be submitted," the PUB said.
The PUB has also adjusted the hearing’s timetable to allow for responses by MPI to the information requests. The rate hearing will now start Oct. 22 instead of the original date of Oct. 7.
A copy of the PUB’s order is posted here.