Starting today, Hydro-Quebec could start cutting off those who have been unable to pay their bill this year. Some 50,000 customers are at risk today, with Hydro-Quebec announcing several potential service interruptions.
Hydro-Quebec representatives say that this is the last resort option for indebted customers because they don't necessarily want to cut people off. Hydro-Quebec will first send out a notice that warns customers they are at risk of being cut off. Then, the company will give people 30 to 45 days to figure out full payment or to arrange a payment plan.
Yesterday, Hydro rates officially went up 0.9% despite the company's soaring profits in 2018. Last year, more than 43,000 customers were unable to comply with the payment agreement and were cut off from Hydro services.
Over 200,000 customers signed payment plan agreements in 2018, which cost the company some $93 million in lost payments.
TL;DR Today, some 50,000 customers are at risk of being cut off from Hydro-Quebec services because they are unable to pay their bills. Hydro will give affected customers up to 45 days to pay their bills after they receive a notice. Hydro-Quebec spokesman Cendrix Bouchard has said, "the last resort is the interruption of service."
Financial and budget experts fear the worst in the coming months, as more and more customers struggle to pay their Hydro bills. With rates continuing to rise, experts are worried that this could become an endemic problem in the region.
From December 1st to March 31st, Hydro-Quebec is prevented from disconnecting customers from services because of their winter break. Spokesman Cendrix Bouchard says that cutting people off is the company's last resort and that Hydro-Quebec wants to give people a chance to pay for their charges.
Hydro will start sending out service delay notices to some 50,000 customers around the province today. After, customers are allowed up to 45 days to pay their bills.
In the meantime, clients can negotiate payment plans, so long as the agreement falls within the 45 days. Customers will be treated on a case-by-case basis.
In 2018, Hydro-Quebec was forced to sign payment agreements with 229,221 customers across the province. Client debts cost the company $93.2 million, up 2% from previous years.
It's hard to say what is causing this increase in customer debt, but many are quick to blame Hydro-Quebec's unreasonably high rates during the winter. Some customers in Montreal have been charged as much as $650 dollars for a few months of service this winter!
It is recommended that you contact Hydro-Quebec as soon as possible if you are in debt, to avoid getting your service cut off this month.
If you're worried that you're one of the 50,000 people who will potentially be affected, please make sure to contact Hydro-Quebec to arrange a plan.
There's no reason that your service should be cut off, especially for the coming months. You might not think you need Hydro during the summer, but without Hydro, you wouldn't even be able to charge your phone!
To consult Hydro-Quebec's payment options, visit their website.