MONTREAL -- A measure by Hydro-Quebec to help ease the financial impact of the pandemic on households will end on Sept. 30, when the utility resumes charging administration fees on all outstanding electricity bills.

Because many customers still face severe hardship because of the economic downturn, lost jobs and health challenges, it is possible for households and businesses to set up a payment plan.

“If you think you’re going to have difficulty paying your bill, contact us immediately," Hydro-Quebec spokesperson Cendrix Bouchard told CTV, acknowledging many are now struggling to get by.

Bouchard said the utility is trying to be flexible.

"If it’s possible for us to help them, we will," he said.

Payment arrangements can be organized anytime before Sept. 30, the last official day of the grace period, but also beyond, into October. Administration fees will be waived for the duration of the payment agreement.

The interest rate, Bouchard explained, is 1.2 per cent per month on outstanding amounts.

Tens of thousands of Quebecers have already taken advantage of the payment plan option.

Among the 120,000 clients who registered for payment agreements with Hydro-Quebec between January and the end of August, 60,000 signed up between March 13 and the end of July.

Customers can either arrange a payment plan online or by phone:

  • residential customers: 514-385-7252 or 1-888-385-7252
  • business customers:1-877-956-5696

In an email sent to clients, Hydro-Quebec also said it will be resuming "system maintenance activities," and that all of the work will be carried out by teams "in accordance with government guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the public."