Hydro-Quebec: Quebec will have to change the law, warns the PQ

If Hydro-Québec wishes, as it says, to start selecting the industrial projects presented to it, the government of François Legault will first have to repeal the law which prevents it from doing so.

• Read also: For industrial promoters, no more all-you-can-eat buffet at Hydro-Québec

• Read also: Selection of projects at Hydro: transparency, please!

This is the warning issued by the PQ energy critic, MNA Sylvain Gaudreault, to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonatan Julien.

“It is still a major change of course. In the spring, Sophie Brochu (CEO of Hydro-Quebec) argued that the law required it to provide electricity to all those – including GNL Quebec – who requested it. And then, all of a sudden, it’s not that anymore? I don’t mind, but we have to discuss it, do things in a transparent way.

No more all-you-can-eat buffet

The Journal revealed last week that considering itself unable to meet the needs of new industrial projects, Hydro had undertaken to warn promoters against the risk of taking its electricity for granted.

“It is important,” says a letter sent to a company interested in Quebec, “that you exercise sound caution in the implementation of your projects as long as they are not clearly accepted by from Hydro-Quebec. »

However, the Act respecting the Régie de l’énergie stipulates that Hydro is required “to distribute electricity to any person who requests it”. To do otherwise, says Mr. Gaudreault, “by choosing, for example, to exclude projects, would be against the law”.

The member for Jonquière states that he does not immediately oppose the changes that are taking place. However, he advises the CAQ not to try to save on the tabling of a bill.

“You need transparency. (…) I think it’s time to get the Minister’s point of view on the subject. (…) I don’t want us to wake up one morning with new guidelines established without public consultation or reflection on the subject”.

Julien must swarm

Among the criteria that should be part of Hydro-Québec’s project analysis grid, MP Gaudreault mentions two, “essential”: their contribution to achieving “our GHG reduction targets”, and their contribution efforts to ‘diversify the economy of our regions’.

That said, time is running out. The government is currently entering its last parliamentary session before the next election is called in the fall.

To succeed, the entire legislative process – including the hearing of the groups and the detailed study – should be completed before the end of the current parliamentary session, at the end of June.

“It’s doable, believes Sylvain Gaudreault. But to do this, the minister (Jonatan Julien) will have to come out of his cave and swarm. It is only then that we can go to the parliamentary committee, hear the point of view of Hydro and other groups, and begin the detailed study. We are capable, as long as there is a ministerial will in this direction.

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