While the CAQ was in opposition, Premier Legault demanded the $180 million overcharged to Hydro customers be returned to them – but now that he is in power, it appears his memory has lapsed. Just a few weeks ago, the CAQ’s Natural Resources Minister confirmed that half of the money ($90 million) will be put into the Treasury Board coffers, even though they are expecting a $5 billion dollar surplus by the end of 2019. But Quebecers are not sitting idly by. In fact, more than 56,000 people have so far signed a petition calling for a full refund – an amount which can add up to several hundred dollars per customer.
The petition was launched on February 22nd 2018 by the Quebec chapter of the Canadian Taxpayers Association (CTA), a taxpayers group advocating for lower taxes and an increase in government accountability – and has been gaining momentum ever since. This comes at a time when Hydro-Québec reported a net profit of $3.19 billion in 2018 (a 12% per cent increase from 2017). Most of the increase in profits came the sale of their majority stake in TM4, but part of it was also because of an increase in electricity sales in Quebec, due to the weather – yet residential customers will be paying 0.9% more per kW⋅h starting on April 1st of this year. It may be a small increase and only add up to approximately $13 on average for the year – but for many people just trying to make ends meet, every extra kilowatt bites into the budget. You can sign the petition online at: www.taxpayer.com/resource-centre/petitions/petition?tpContentId=196