Large homes that use a lot of electricity due to heated swimming pools and spas are in the sights of Hydro-Québec, which is studying measures to limit consumption by residential customers and thus free up energy for businesses.
“As a population, we use too much electricity,” declared new Economy and Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, sending a signal that went unnoticed after he was sworn in last Thursday.
According to our information, Hydro-Québec has already established a committee to update its 20-year-old legislative framework.
Measures that would affect residential customers are being considered.
The group is considering a rate change for large homes with spas, heated pools and many energy-intensive features and amenities.
They consume a lot of energy to control a wide variety of elements simultaneously.
Currently, the power threshold for a customer to qualify for household rates is 50 kilowatts (kW).
A state-owned enterprise could reduce it to 40 kW or 45 kW. Those who exceed it would be subject to the new price bracket.
Some at Hydro believe that a person who owns this type of dwelling “probably has the ability to pay” as opposed to a customer who lives in a tiny house.
However, Hydro is still studying the possibility of automatically enrolling new Hydro-Quebec customers in dynamic pricing, which is trying to gain followers.
They would participate in one of the time-of-use pricing programs from the start, but would always have the option to opt out later.
It is an “opt-in” concept that integrates the customer into the service without giving them the opportunity to choose in advance. “Opt-out” must be done at the client’s request.
Hydro would thus maintain, as is tradition, low tariffs for residential customers and the concept of voluntary participation in its programs encouraging, for example, off-peak laundry loads.
Currently, only 180,000 customers out of 4 million participate in these programs.
“We are hiring,” said Cendrix Bouchard, a communications consultant at Hydro-Québec.
As early as 2026, Quebec could run out of electricity.
Asked whether Quebecers should be forced to reduce their consumption, Minister Fitzgibbon recently confirmed that “a lot of work needs to be done to modulate consumption” and “action will have to be taken” by the state corporation.
“Hydro-Quebec has it under control. The question is to do it again as quickly as possible because there is a source of additional terawatt-hours that we can consume to emit elsewhere,” admitted Mr. Fitzgibbon, who wants to intervene in managing the energy demand of new businesses that want to set up themselves in Quebec.
Reduces the electricity bill of a customer who reduces their consumption when requested by the state company, especially in winter.
- 2022–2023 ▸ 180,000 clients (this year the program is open to everyone)
- 2021–2022 ▸ 157,000 clientsselected by Hydro
- 2020-2021 ▸ 60,000 clientsselected by Hydro
- 2019-2020 ▸ 20,000 clientsselected by Hydro