A new study suggests Hydro-Quebec is racked by inefficiency and would be more valuable to the province if it were privatized.

The study is likely to reignite a political debate in Quebec about how to best exploit the province's vast hydroelectric resources.

The study also challenges Premier Jean Charest's use of Hydro-Quebec to further the government's own economic growth targets.

Dam construction

Charest has ordered the utility to embark on an aggressive dam construction phase aimed at adding 4,500 megawatts of new hydro capacity by 2015.

The report was commissionned by the Montreal Economic Institute and authored by Claude Garcia, the retired former head of Standard Life's Canadian unit.

Garcia last year estimated Hydro-Quebec's market value at an eye-popping $130-billion, based on average North American electricity prices.