- Rude commenters took to Hydro-Québec's social media posts in the aftermath of the weekend ice storm to complain about the situation.
- In response, the Hydro social media manager employed their signature (polite) passive aggression.
- Hilarity ensued.
Quebec's first real storm of the year produced dangerous road conditions, downed branches, and deprived nearly 140,000 Hydro-Québec customers of power. Many of those customers rushed to social media networks to express their dissatisfaction. In response, the government corporation employed its signature, hilarious passive-aggression in a series of Facebook and Twitter posts that thwarted some of the most ignorant comments on its feed.
Several regions, including Quebec City, received impressive amounts of snow — up to 25 centimetres. Up to 40 millimetres of rain and 25 millimetres of ice pellets fell in other places. Even today, January 13, many Quebecers were still without power.
Customers in the dark are asking questions and demanding answers, and Hydro is not shy about giving them.
This is not the first time Hydro-Québec has reacted with sharp comedy. In the aftermath of a weather bomb that hit Quebec last winter, the Hydro social network manager's terse, biting comments attracted quite a bit of attention.
Translation: The next time freezing rain is in the forecast, we'll take 3-4 days before its arrival to remove all the trees and branches everywhere along our 97,000 km of lines.
People often complain about situations that are totally out of Hydro-Québec's control, inspiring the social media manager to offer scenarios as improbable as the one above.
In response to another snide comment about Hydro rates, the company replied: "So for you, paying for a service you consume is theft? We sincerely believe that the discussion can end here."
Translation: Our profits are 3 to 4 billion [dollars] per year. Even being as optimistic as possible, it would take 25 years to bury our distribution network if we used 100% of our profits and, during this time, didn't deliver annual dividends to the government to help finance public services offered to citizens of the province. Your taxes would increase to pick up that shortfall. Is this in your opinion an absolute priority for Quebecers?
The manager of Hydro's Facebook page does not hesitate to give math lessons to its subscribers.
Translation: This publication is actually bilingual and appears in the language of your own [Facebook] parameters. Why are your parameters in English?
The social manager also gives lessons about Facebook settings.
"It rained literally all day yesterday," the company replied sharply to a commenter who claimed that "it hadn't rained yet."
"We're working exceptionally on a Sunday because there are people without electricity asking us questions. Are you really bemoaning the fact that we're providing service?" the Crown corporation replied curtly to yet another commenter criticizing the company's use of resources.
Hydro-Québec's communications team is not alone in its hard work. During widespread outages, field crews work round the clock to restore electricity to customers.
As of Monday afternoon, most Quebecers have their power back.
To see the state of Hydro-Québec's network, click here.
This article was originally published in French on Narcity Québec.