Hydro-Quebec refunds coming – In a statement on Monday December 9th, Hydro Quebec announced they will be refunding $500 million to customers starting in early 2020 – but it is not the $1.5 billion dollars the CAQ had first claimed it would be. Last Saturday the CAQ pushed through Bill 34, invoking closure that will see refunds sent out at an average of $60 per customer. It will also see the utility’s rates frozen in the New Year with increases starting in 2021 and limited to the inflation rate for the following five years. However, all the other parties voted unanimously against the Bill, saying it would end up costing customers and industries more in the end.
The Liberal Party stated that in seven of the past ten years, the increases customers received were less than the rate of inflation and by cementing it to the rates, it would actually result in higher costs. As well, a research team for the Parti Quebecois claims that customers would be doling out $600 million more during those five years. Bill 34 also changes how the rates are reviewed by the Régie de l’énergie, by having the board calculate it every five years, instead of every year – basically meaning the CAQ is taking control of Hydro’s power to set the rates. In 2025, they will determine the rates for the following years once Hydro‑Quebec has filed its rate application.
Nonetheless, the refund credits to customers are expected to start rolling out in January at the earliest. The following information from Hydro-Quebec explains how you can find out if you are eligible and the steps you may or may not have to take to receive the refund. *For more detailed information or other questions, please go to their website
ELIGIBILITY FOR THE CREDIT – You are entitled to receive a credit if you received at least one electricity bill in your name in 2018 or 2019.
– This amount will be issued in the form of a credit on your bill or by a cheque sent to Hydro‑Quebec customers who received at least one electricity bill in their name in 2018 or 2019. There is nothing most customers really need to do, as the credit will be applied automatically to their bills between the end of January and April 1, 2020. The amount will be calculated based on a percentage of your electricity consumption billed between January 1st 2018 and December 31st 2019. They ask you to ‘look at your bills carefully because the credit will only appear once under Credit note.
NOT A HYDRO‑QUEBEC CUSTOMER ANY LONGER?
– You are still eligible and should receive a cheque in the mail – as long as you received at least one electricity bill in your name in 2018 or 2019. They ask you to please confirm your current address, if applicable. There are several ways you can do this:
Update your ‘Customer Space’ file online or fill out the Credit request form and provide the address where you would like to receive the cheque. If you are unable to provide your current address online, they ask you please contact customer services by telephone. Once they have your contact information, they will send you an account statement at the end of January or later and you will eventually receive a cheque in the mail. *If you are MOVING in December 2019 or January 2020 – they ask you to please confirm the address of where you would like to receive the cheque.
NEW HYDRO‑QUEBEC CUSTOMERS IN 2020
In 2025, the Régie de l’énergie will determine the rates for the following years once Hydro‑Québec has filed its rate application.
BUSINESSES – All businesses that received an electricity bill in 2018 or 2019 are also eligible for a credit. Go to their website (link above) for more information.