Agreement between Hydro-Québec and Énergir | Organizations question the agreement

(Québec) Environmental groups challenged the agreement between Hydro-Québec and Énergir before the Régie de l’énergie.

Updated yesterday at 6:13pm.

Patrice Bergeron
The Canadian Press

The Association of Environmental Energy Organizations (ROEE) filed a request for review Monday, The Canadian Press has learned. Other requests for review led by other organizations should also be made, it was learned.

The agreement between the state-owned company and the largest supplier of natural gas aims to switch gas heating systems to dual energy, but Hydro must compensate Énergir for its lost revenue and pass the bill on to its customers. The agreement reduces electricity demand at peak times.

But environmental groups consider the deal unacceptable. According to them, it slows down the energy transition and prolongs the use of polluting fossil fuels from the oil sands.

Additionally, the agreement will result in a huge multi-billion dollar cost for Hydro-Québec’s subscribers to be paid to Énergir for lost income, the organizations argue.

Allowed or not

The Régie will only have to decide in the coming weeks or months whether the request for review is admissible. If so, she will hear the case.

To justify its action, the ROÉE relies in particular on the dissenting opinion of one of the commissioners in the decision approving the agreement – dissenting opinions are rather rare in the history of the Régie, notes an analyst working for the ROÉÉ, Jean-Pierre Fine, tight.

“Fatal Errors”

In its application, the ROÉE argues that the “majority (of commissioners) exceeded or failed to properly exercise the powers of the Régie and committed serious and fundamental errors in the observance and application of the law on the Régie de l’énergie”, we can read.

“It is said that the Régie has exceeded its rights, the rights of its founding act,” commented Mr. Finet in an interview with The Canadian Press. In other words, the Régie went too far in establishing general principles.

“We are complaining about a serious material defect,” he said.

“For example, the decision to go to dinner with the family is a general principle, but the decision that we will eat chicken at a particular restaurant and another will have ribs is no longer a general principle. In our case, it is a price decision that binds the next training courses for managers who are confronted with a fait accompli. »

Compensation that is not passed

In addition, the organizations are firmly against Hydro’s compensation for Énergir on the matter.

It doesn’t make sense, it’s like compensating the oil companies every time we charge an electric vehicle, it doesn’t make sense.

Jean Pierre Finet

Hydro already estimates that the agreement will result in a 1.4% increase in tariffs in 2030.

The state-owned company estimates its gap at 4.8 billion, which is due to both the agreement with Énergir and an increase in electrification in general.

“These costs will exist whether there is an agreement with Énergir or not, we will electrify the heating of buildings,” a Hydro-Québec spokesman said.

“With the electrification of buildings currently 100% gas powered under the deal with Énergir – which aims to offload the peak grid – the impact on new power supplies is in the order of 4.8 billion,” explained the spokesman.

Full electrification, i.e. not going through the dual energy on which the deal is based, would take longer and cost more, or 9.6 billion in the long term, “an exorbitant cost to society,” argues Hydro.

For its part, the Legault government has repeatedly stressed that this agreement is beneficial because it would allow Quebec’s emissions to be reduced by 540,000 tons of greenhouse gases by 2030, according to the figures it put forward.

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