Hydro-Quebec presented its case to the energy board Friday, asking for permission to raise the cost of electricity in the province by 5.8 per cent.
The board will make a decision by February. If the hike is approved, Quebecers will be paying $3 to $10 more on their monthly hydro bill.
Hydro-Quebec says the increase is necessary, in large part, so it can finance new wind farms and because of an increased energy demand.
“We have to integrate energy from wind farms, we have to index our heritage pool of energy [due to provincial law] and also there’s an increase in demand from residential customers,” Patrice Lavoie with Hydro-Quebec told CJAD.
The Coalition Against Public Service Fees and Privatization, which has been fighting the price hike, says these costs should not be coming out of Quebecers’ pockets.
“You want to develop wind energy that’s ok, but take the money elsewhere, like our government can do,” Sylvain Lafrenière with the Coalition said.
If approved, the new rates will be applied as of April 2014. It would be the biggest hydro increase since the freeze on rate hikes was lifted in 2004.
This will be the first time Hydro's "heritage pool" will be indexed. The provincial law covering Hydro mandated that the price be indexed as of 2014. That block of electricity has had its rate frozen since it was established, to allow Quebecers to benefit from living in a province rich with hydro power.