(Quebec) The increases in electricity rates should be above inflation. But Hydro-Québec must continue to focus on wind power, increase revenues through exports and become more efficient and open government corporation.
By naming Éric Martel (right), a former senior officer of Bombardier, head of Hydro-Quebec, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Pierre Arcand, recalled the statements of the Prime Minister during the election campaign which promised in particular to limit increases in electricity rates to inflation.
THE SUN LIBRARY
This is a series of “commands” that the government passes its crown corporation, piloted since July 6 by Éric Martel, a former senior officer of the aircraft manufacturer Bombardier. The decree, published this morning in the Official Gazette, contains twenty specific elements to prepare the 2016-2020 strategic plan.
The ministerial fact outset reference to inaugural speech by Philippe Couillard, in May 2014. “The will of the new government [is] to keep the project of electrification of transport, to revitalize the Plan Nord to use strategically energy surplus and increased efforts in energy efficiency. ”
A recommendation flagship door on the invoice to be paid by consumers. Hydro sees establish “annual targets” for its “operating expenses”.
These objectives will target “efficiency gains […] so that changes in electricity rates reached at the end of the period covered by the strategic plan, a rate equal to or lower than the inflation. ” This period is five years.
In June, naming Mr. Martel, Minister Pierre Arcand said that Philippe Couillard promised during the election campaign, limiting increases this threshold. He was “concerned” that the last two increases were 2.9% and 4.3%. In his first public appearance, the CEO promised him to go to “reasonable” increases.
The decree reads as the resolution of Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand to follow closely the corporation and give a strong mandate to its President and CEO Eric Martel. In appearing before the media, the two men had insisted on their desire to make more transparent Hydro.
The decree refers to “open government”. For the state enterprise, this means better “customer relations”, but this also requires the disclosure of more public information.
Hydro will have to determine the nature of these data. This can range from automatic disclosure of expense allowances, the level of water in its reservoirs or for consumption in real time of energy, as is done in other provinces.
The government and sole shareholder of Hydro hopes that the next strategic plan is “increasing income” of the company that helps shots of hundreds of millions of dollars to public finances. It is recommended to intensify its efforts to export energy to Ontario and the United States, but also to participate in construction projects or dams lines internationally.
This emphasis on profits does not preclude the Council of Ministers to maintain focus on energy production by wind. He claims that a review be made of wind energy. He suggested closer “complementarity of wind power in the autonomous networks,” which are central in the North to serve the Inuit villages.
The subject is also discussed when the Cabinet Philippe Couillard request to study the supply of electricity to these communities and “connection to the industrial network of projects’, under the Plan Nord.
The decree confirms that the record of the electrification of transport did not fall with the defeat of the Parti Québécois government, which had made it a key element. The use of smart meters, which applies to Hydro its share of controversy, is not abandoned either. In terms of energy efficiency, the government hopes that the strategic plan takes into account “the opportunities related to home automation.”
Seven years for a five-year decree …
It took seven years before the government vote a new decree to allow Hydro
Quebec to adopt a strategic plan … five.
It was in May 2008 that the Liberal government of Jean Charest spoke out on “the form, content and periodicity of the strategic plan.” This should have been reissued in May 2013. The Parti Québécois could renew for 18 months in power as a minority government.
The decision of the cabinet of Philippe Couillard appears more restrictive than in 2008. At the time, no cause to consider strategic planning was not stated.
This time, eight axes are mentioned: the Plan Nord, the electrification of transportation, wind energy, energy efficiency, research and development, open government, increased revenue, efficiency gains and the rules for awarding bonuses to performance.
Crisis bonuses to executives
On this last point, it is difficult to ignore the media storm raised by the distribution of $ 22 million in bonuses to executives at the end of spring. The decree made public today says that these bonuses will not be limited to the achievement of expected results, but they will also incorporate “the objectives of the strategic plan.”
By naming Éric Martel boss Hydro, Minister Pierre Arcand stressed that the bonus compensation of the latter also rest on the plan, including the chapter of financial results, the customer service and tariffs.
It was also reported that Mr. Martel will be satisfied with a pension fund and initial conditions much less generous than its predecessor. Thierry Vandal left two years before the end of his contract with a severance payment of $ 565,000 and an annual pension of $ 450,000, to be indexed through the years.
The strategic plan will continue to cover five years, but will be adjusted every three years. The government gives Éric Martel until November for writing, just over four months.