Dual energy | The agreement between Hydro-Québec and Énergir does not pass

Another obstacle stands in the way of the agreement between Hydro-Québec and Énergir which provides that electricity consumers will pay for those of Énergir who abandon natural gas heating to switch to dual energy.

Industrial electricity consumers decided to appeal the Superior Court judgment which ruled in favor of Hydro-Québec and accepted that all of its customers pay for Énergir’s shortfall.

The appeal from the Association of Industrial Electricity Consumers and the Quebec Forest Industry Council alleges that if it were to be upheld, the Superior Court’s decision “would have a significant financial impact on electricity consumers. “.

The court would also create a dangerous precedent by allowing an energy distributor, namely Hydro-Québec, to finance the losses suffered by another distributor and by considering this compensation as an expense which can be passed on to its customers, the consumers of electricity.

Billions at stake

The agreement between Hydro-Québec and Énergir to encourage natural gas consumers to switch to dual energy (electricity and natural gas) will increase electricity rates by 1.4%, in addition to the regular annual increase.

By 2050, $2.4 billion could thus be drawn from electricity rates to compensate for Énergir’s loss of revenue.

This agreement, described as historic by Hydro-Québec and Énergir when it was announced in 2021, has been controversial from the start.

A first decision by the Régie de l’énergie approved the agreement, although with dissent, which very rarely happens.

This first decision by the Régie was contested by industrial consumers and environmental groups, who alleged in particular that electricity consumers do not have to pay to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of natural gas consumers.

The Régie reversed its first decision and prevented Hydro-Québec from increasing its rates to absorb the amounts paid to Énergir.

Hydro-Québec then indicated that it would itself absorb the cost of the program to convert gas heating systems to dual energy, without increasing electricity rates.

The state-owned company then challenged the second decision of the Régie de l’énergie in Superior Court, which had never happened in the history of the Régie.

It is the decision of the Superior Court rendered on February 16 that industrial consumers want to appeal.

Hydro-Québec had no immediate reaction to this new episode of this controversy which has lasted for years. The dual-energy heating conversion program is still available, a spokesperson said.

Hélène Baril, The Press

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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