Who pays for the damage?

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A power outage has occurred in your area. You have lost power for several hours, which, in the middle of winter, has caused you real problems: – freezing pipes, causing water damage, loss of food, sleeping at the hotel… Do you have any recourse ?

Hydro’s responsible ?

Hydro-Québec does not have the obligation to provide electricity services without any interruption or voltage variation. It is this that shall provide for the terms and conditions of service currently in force and approved by the Régie de l’énergie.

For it to be held liable for damage caused by a power outage or voltage variation, you will need to demonstrate that it has committed gross negligence or wilful misconduct. This evidence is difficult and cases where users have been compensated by Hydro-Québec are rare.

In addition, the current terms of service provide that you are responsible for protecting the electrical system of your residence against voltage variations.

If you incur damages due to a power failure, start by reading your home insurance policy. You might be able to be compensated by your insurer.

Force majeure

A ” force majeure “, it is an event that we can not predict and that we cannot avoid. The power outages are sometimes regarded as cases of force majeure. In such a case, it is intended that the persons bound by a contract are released from their obligations. What is it mean ?

For example : in 2015, the customers of the hotel have undergone a long power outage and, therefore, have left the institution prior to the end of their stay. As it was a case of force majeure, the tribunal concluded that :

  • the hotel was freed from its obligation to provide appropriate accommodation, since it was not responsible for the failure ;
  • the clients were released from their obligation to pay their stay.
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Informational text – This text is not legal advice; it is recommended to consult with a lawyer or a notary public to such a notice. Éducaloi is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inform Quebecers of their rights and obligations in a clear language”.