Is Quebec’s electricity business model broken?

Blog, Commentary, Crown Corporations, Energy, Public Sector, Publius Tacitus, Quebec

This report on Quebec Hydro is one in a long series of reports of ‘troubles in Canada’s utility land’ brought about by the shale gas revolution, new technologies (solar, wind), larger investments in energy efficiency measures and slowing per capita demand, all taking the ‘build’ pressure  down for large and expensive hydroelectric generating plants.

The problem for ratepayers is that provincial governments with monopoly Crown corporation utilities – Newfoundland Labrador’s Nalcor, Quebec’s Quebec Hydro, Manitoba’s Manitoba Hydro and B.C.’s B.C. Hydro – aren’t listening.

Grown dependent on the income streams the Crown monopolies flow into their government masters’ revenue pots and ignoring the costs and risks they are putting on their captive ratepayers, the four provincial governments keep their feet on the accelerator as they rush their overly expensive and unnecessary projects past their passive Government-appointed regulators. 

Producing power at unit costs four or more times what your captive utility can get for it makes little sense, unless the losses will be borne by others (ratepayers) while you (the government) get both revenue (annually, forever) and heightened economic activity ( short term) as the projects are built.

So much for caring for your subjects!