My co-worker and I were just having a conversation about the ridiculous rates of Hydro when you live in an old Montreal apartment. It's nothing for people in one-bedroom apartments to receive bills in the $600 range, particularly in the winter.
So when we found out that Hydro-Quebec had actually ended up with an earnings surplus, there was some understandable outrage. And since 2005, people in Quebec have been demanding that this money be returned to the customers who paid it.
And finally, that day has come.
Quebec premier François Legault has finally put his foot down and announced that the government will return the $1.5 billion that was overpaid by Hydro Quebec customers.
The return will happen over the next couple years and will coincide with a rate freeze for 2020.
According to La Presse, the next four years will only see increases in line with inflation, therefore Hydro-Quebec will not be able to increase rates to incur profits.
Watch the MTLBlog video below for more information:
The move comes after a petition with over 75,000 names was collected last month that demanded Hydro-Quebec return the money that was incurred due to the rates set by la Regie de l'energie that ended up being higher than necessary.
La Presse also notes that the Auditor General saw $1.655 billion in overpayments between 2005 and 2017, meaning if you were paying Hydro-Quebec in this time, you are likely eligible for the return payments.
What we can expect to see at the beginning of next year is a return to customers by way of a discount in the electricity bill of all customers, in proportion to their consumption.
According to La Presse, this should look like savings of $150 for a bungalow owner, so don't expect a refund cheque in the mail.
We will, of course, update you of any new details on this story as they come down the line.
To read La Presse's French coverage of the whole thing, head to their article here.
Editor's Note: After speaking with a spokesperson from Hydro-Quebec we changed references in this article that implied customers were "over-charged," as they were in fact charged the rate that was set by la Regie de l'engergie. However, the surplus in earnings still stands and was still sourced by customer payments.
To read the full press release from Hydro-Quebec for yourself, head to their page here.