January 19, 2024
CBC Radio-Canada has reported the Legault government in Quebec is planning a significant reform in its energy sector by legalizing the direct sale of electricity between private companies, breaking the current distribution monopoly held by Hydro-Québec. Currently, only a few entities, including Hydro-Québec and several municipal networks in the province have the right to sell electricity. The proposed bill aims to allow renewable energy producers to directly sell their electricity to other companies, with the option to use Hydro-Québec’s transport network for a fee. This reform aims to address the growing demand for electricity for industrial projects while allowing the private sector to play a more significant role.
As Radio-Canada reports, this move has sparked concerns from some groups and organizations such as the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Greenpeace Canada, who fear that the Hydro-Québec monopoly may be compromised, and they raise concerns about the impact on electricity rates, energy security, and the legacy of the nationalization of electricity in Quebec.
The government’s plan involves amending the Energy Board Act, particularly Article 60, to allow all renewable energy producers to benefit from an exception that currently applies only to electricity produced from forest biomass, which can be sold directly to a consumer under very specific conditions. The final decision will depend on a bill that the government plans to introduce next month.
You can find CBC’s reporting on this development HERE