Even though inflation, especially food, is still wreaking havoc, now Hydro-Quebec’s bill is also going up starting tomorrow. All Quebecers taste it, residential customers and businesses.
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From 1er April, all residents will experience a 3% increase in their monthly bill. We’re talking about $5 to $6 every month or so, on top of other incremental costs.
“The people most affected are those with the least flexibility in their budgets,” says Sylvie de Bellefeuille, a lawyer at Option Consumers.
“Low-income households often lack control over their electricity bills. When you put in accommodation that ‘heats the outside’, these people pay for electricity despite having no control over the quality or insulation of the accommodation,” she explains.
But it would be wrong to believe that only the less fortunate will have to adjust to the new hydro rates.
Retirees, especially those on fixed pensions, are losing their purchasing power, she said.
“The middle class is also affected. Cumulatively, every year, this increase started to hurt. And as the cost of businesses increases, these same people, as consumers, risk paying higher prices for their goods and services,” she continues.
SMEs eat whole
In fact, small businesses are stuffed turkeys. They have to handle a 6.5% increase in their bill every month, in which many of them are already facing all kinds of rising bills.
Sophie Aprio runs the Atelier Mécanique Desro garage in Repentigny with her husband. To run her garage, she uses a combination of natural gas and electricity. The electricity portion of his bill is $500 a month. How will she handle a 6.5% increase in her bill?
“That’s on top of rent and all the other expenses and it ends up increasing the hourly labor rate we charge customers. I don’t have a choice. It has to be partially reflected on the invoice, which we don’t always cash,” she said.
“This is the largest increase ever recorded for SMEs since 1998,” said Francois Vincent, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business Quebec.
“And this, at the same time Hydro-Quebec went all out and announced historic profits,” he said bitterly.
Big factories also pay
Thousands of workers who wake up in the morning to earn a living in Quebec’s aluminum smelters and mines will also bear the brunt of the increase.
Quebec’s largest factories pay up to $100 million a year for electricity.
“So when we say it’s only 4.2% more, I apologize, but in some cases there are still several million dollars to pay,” said Jocelyn B. Allard, president of the Quebec Association of Industrial Electricity Consumers.
“And the factory gets nothing in return. She doesn’t hire more people or expand her production. These are net losses, and unfortunately the employees also suffer the consequences through layoffs or lower wages.
Reggie should return to the scene
For Sylvie De Bellefeuille, the Régie de l’énergie should always monitor Hydro-Québec rate increases.
“Hydro-Quebec is currently posting record profits, which shows that such a high rate increase is not necessary,” she said.
UP 1er April
- 3% | Residential users
- 6.5% | Shops and small businesses
- 4.2% | Big companies
For residential consumers, the monthly impact is a 3% increase in electricity bill as of 1er April 2023 Average…
- $2.28 per month For a five-and-a-half-room apartment
- $4.27 per month 111 meters for small house2
- $5.65 per month An average of 158 m2
- $6.97 per month For a large house of 207 meters2
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