As the weather heats up, Quebecers expect more frequent and longer outages, and want Hydro-Quebec to spend billions burying power lines to reduce the risk.
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This is what emerged from the Leisure Poll, which takes the pulse of Quebecers on the recent power outages. More than 1,000 people expressed their opinion on the outage caused by the ice storm, as well as on the future of the state-owned company.
Among other findings, 70% of the people surveyed are not willing to pay 5% more on their electricity bill, even if that money could be used to invest in the grid and reduce the number of outages. However, 61% feel that power outages have become more frequent in recent years, and 55% feel that the recovery time from outages is longer than before.
Quebecers realize that the breakdowns are likely to be more and more numerous, but they are at the financial limit. With soaring interest rates, inflation, and electricity costs, they aren’t willing to add more. It’s a message to the government and to Hydro: Quebecers want more for their money and they want us to manage that money more efficiently,” explains Jean-Marc Léger, President of Léger Marketing.
However, a majority of Quebecers (61%) agree that Hydro-Québec should invest tens of billions to bury electrical wires in order to reduce the risk of blackouts.
Recall that in an interview with TVA on April 6, Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said the following: “Are we going to allocate 100 billion to global landfills in Quebec? The answer is no. It would not be reasonable because Hydro-Quebec already has $90 billion on its balance sheet. It should Double the number of workers.
As for the frequency and duration of outages, Quebecers’ perception now matches reality, the survey indicates. According to Hydro-Quebec’s own reports and the Auditor General, the faults are indeed more numerous and the current longer in terms of recovery. In 2022, the duration of outages per customer will increase by 82%, to 230 minutes of outages, according to Hydro-Québec’s recent 2022 report with Régie de l’énergie.
exports that swear
The survey showed that Quebecers are divided on the issue of electricity exports to the United States. In fact, 53% see it as a good idea for Hydro-Québec to export a portion of its electricity to the United States, while 47% oppose it.
Quebecers usually support this idea. But at a critical moment like today, when we hear again and again that electricity may run out, it is indeed surprising to see that a small majority still think that exporting electricity is a good idea,” says Mr Leger.
Newspaper I reported yesterday that because of a looming electricity shortage in the province, Quebec is now closing the door on any new export contracts.
An independent CEO, please
Nearly two-thirds of Quebecers (63%) are unanimous: Hydro-Québec’s next CEO, who will succeed Sophie Brochud and who must be appointed by Quebecers in a few weeks, should have no personal or business relationship with Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.
“People want a real CEO to lead, not just someone else’s friend. Hydro-Québec and the government have a responsibility in this regard. Hydro-Québec’s image will be improved by the competence of its leader. If we look for someone whose competence criterion is one among Otherwise, Hydro-Québec’s public picture can be clouded.
“Food trailblazer. Passionate troublemaker. Coffee fanatic. General analyst. Certified creator. Lifelong music expert. Alcohol specialist.”