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Hydro-Quebec plans to charge higher rates for large homes that use 'excessive' amount of electricity

Hydro-Quebec plans to raise rates for large homes that use an 'excessive amount' of energy. (Source: Max Vakhtbovycn/Pexels) Hydro-Quebec plans to raise rates for large homes that use an 'excessive amount' of energy. (Source: Max Vakhtbovycn/Pexels)
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Hydro-Quebec says it plans to charge higher rates for large homes that use "excessive" amounts of electricity as part of an action plan to encourage Quebecers to use energy efficiently.

It was one of 40 commitments made by the Crown corporation in its 2035 Action Plan unveiled on Thursday, which was borne out of eight months of discussion with stakeholders across the province, including the general public, environmental groups, energy experts, and Indigenous communities.

"We're not talking about normal houses or large houses with people having good habits. We are talking about very large houses with electrical equipment like heated driveways or heated pools, or a combination of different equipment that could consume a lot of energy," said Maxence Huard-Lefebvre, a spokesperson for Hydro-Quebec, in an interview.

The plan listed five of Hydro-Quebec's priorities for the coming decade. It identified its top two priorities: improving its service quality and using energy more efficiently.

Huard-Lefebvre told CTV News that they saw in their public consultations that energy efficiency was an important topic for Quebecers

"Yes, we will need to build new production sources like wind farms but we will also need to be very ambitious in energy efficiency programs," Huard-Lefebvre said.

He noted that Hydro-Quebec announced Thursday that it would invest $10-12 billion dollars in different energy efficiency programs.

Hydro-Quebec plans to offer better rates on a voluntary basis to households who commit to better electricity consumption habits, such as charging an electric car at night.

"We want people to have options in order to develop good habits about their energy consumption and in order to prevent energy waste," Huard-Lefebvre said.

Huard-Lefebvre says Hydro-Quebec has not already detailed the specific criteria that would be considered "excessive" consumption.

Nicolas Gagnon, the Quebec director at the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation, believes that raising rates for large homes is unnecessary considering the current rate system.

"The thing is, in Quebec, we already have a tariff that's adjusted to the consumption of every home," he told CTV News.

"So if, for example, you have a home of a specific size, you're already paying for more electricity than most people. We already have a fair system in Quebec. What Hydro-Quebec is trying to do is increase its revenue, rather than see what is going on with their expenses."

He added that he felt every Quebecer should have access to affordable energy. "That should be the main mandate of Hydro-Quebec right now," he added.

According to its Action Plan, the third priority of Hydro-Quebec until 2035 is increasing supply, followed by improving its relationship with First Nations and Inuit communities and improving its transparency to the public.

Huard-Lefebvre said the corporation would give more details on the new rate system in the coming weeks. 

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