Hydro-Québec is the main electricity generator and distributor in Québec. The company serves nearly the entire province, with the exception of some municipalities with their own utility companies, such as Sherbrooke and Coaticook.
Hydro-Québec is one of the largest hydroelectricity producers in the world. Thanks to Québec’s huge water resources, almost 100% of the province’s electricity generation comes from hydropower. By the numbers, this means approximately 63 hydropower generating stations, more than 259,020 km of transmission and distribution power lines, and 4.3 million customers across the province, including locations such as Montréal, Laval, Québec City and Trois-Rivières.
Whether small homes or large industrial facilities, all Hydro-Québec rates are periodically regulated by the provincial government’s Régie de l’énergie (Québec’s energy board).
The generation and distribution of electricity in Québec started in the late 19th century with multiple private companies. In 1944, however, the provincial government decided to buy all of these companies and merge them into a single governmental corporation, Hydro-Québec. Since then, the company has been expanding its services as the main generation, distribution, and transmission utility in the province.
In the early 1960s, however, Hydro-Québec faced one of its main challenges: Keeping up with an electricity demand that was growing at 7% rate every year — which would force the company to double its generation every 10 years. That was when Hydro-Québec built three huge hydroelectric systems, which are known nowadays as Manic-Outardes, Churchill Falls and La Grande.
Since that time, Hydro-Québec is known for its combination of technological innovation and strategic partnerships. As of 2019, the company is North America’s leading provider of clean energy, and exports a large portion of electricity to other Canadian provinces and areas of the Northeast United States, including New England, New York State and Ontario, with an 8,200 MW total export capacity.
How to pay your Hydro-Québec bill
Like most electricity retailers in Canada, Hydro-Québec offers its customers a wide range of payment methods, including:
- Through the financial institutional (be it online, phone banking, at the branch or ATMs)
- Pre-authorized debit
- Via mail
- On the Hydro-Québec website
It’s important to note that some customers may be requested a deposit or other payment guarantee as a condition of the new contract.
Equalized payments plan (EPP): This payment method enables customers to pay their annual bills over the course of 12 months without having to pay extra fees. Such an arrangement can help clients who prefer to pay monthly, lower bills instead of higher amounts all at once.
Payment difficulties and power disconnection in Québec
When can Hydro-Québec cut power off? Hydro-Québec customers have 21 days to pay their electricity bills before the due date. Three days past the bill due date, administration fees of 1.2% per month start to be added to the total amount owed.
Your electricity will be disconnected only at least 45 days after the bill was first sent to you. In this period, consumers receive automated phone calls, late payment notes, and written disconnection notices, which can help you keep track of how many days you have until your power is cut off.
Like anywhere else in Canada, Québec faces extreme weather every winter, so there are some regulations in the province that protect households from electricity disconnection in the cold season.
During winter (from December 1 to March 31), a residence with an electricity-powered heating system can’t have the electricity service interrupted or refused by Hydro-Québec. In case your power was cut off before this period, the company will restore power to your home at your request.
Can Hydro-Québec cut you off in summer? Yes, it can. However, the company will restore the electricity service to your residence at your request during a heat wave only.
A little help with your energy bills: If you find it difficult to pay your hydro bills month after month, it’s worth it checking if you’re eligible for a more affordable payment arrangement provided by Hydro-Québec. According to the utility, low-income households can contact its customer services to find an arrangement that fits your finances.
In order to be considered a low-income customer, you may have to provide the company with specific information, such as:
- Employment income
- Benefits paid to your household
- Governmental family allowances (both federal and provincial)
Hydro-Québec power outage
Quebecers can track both Hydro-Québec power outages and planned power interruptions across the province using the power outage map on the utility’s website. The online page provides you with planned service interruption details, power outage maps, service status by region, as well as specific tips on how to prepare for a power outage.
In case you want to contact Hydro-Québec about a power outage, there is a 24-hour customer care phone service: 800-790-2424.
Hydro-Québec contact and login
Hydro-Québec provides its customers with two customer service phone numbers: 514-385-7252 or 888-385-7252. As stated on its website, the average wait time is less than two minutes. These two phone lines are open only during business hours (weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
For the ones that prefer to contact Hydro-Québec using the convenience of online platforms, the “Customer Space” page will be of great help. The website page allows you to check account and billing information, details on moving, and requests for work. Find below a quick list of some of the services provided by Hydro-Québec in the “Customer Space” page.
- Login to your Hydro-Québec account
- Online billing, payment history and multiple property management
- Check electricity and services rates in Québec
- Pay, confirm a payment and sign up for pre-authorized debit
- See your electricity consumption as graphs
- Change of address, become a customer, add or delete an address
- Track requests for work
Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie is a division of Hydro-Québec that works on the transmission system design, maintenance and operation of the power lines in the province. The company’s tariffs are regulated by the Régie de l’énergie.
TransÉnergie is a leader when it comes to transmission system size and quality of the electricity grid. The company’s transmission system is the most extensive in North America. It contains 533 substations and more than 34,272 km of power lines. Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie has many interconnections with electricity systems in other provinces and in the United States, including New England, New York, Ontario, and New-Brunswick.