• John Jantak

Hydro will finally remove dangerous tree in St. Lazare


Hydro-Québec spokesperson Sandrine Brindejonc confirmed the utility will assess and remove a birch tree by next Thursday that has been leaning since August 1 atop a power line behind St. Lazare resident Richard Masys’ property.

A Hydro-Québec spokesperson confirmed it will look into a complaint from a St. Lazare resident about a leaning birch tree that has been resting atop a power line since early August and promises to remove the tree within a week.

Sandrine Brindejonc, a Hydro media representative for the Estrie and Montérégie region, made the announcement in response to a complaint made to Your Local Journal by resident Richard Masys who said that after three attempts to report the issue, once to customer service and twice to road crews, no one has visited his property to assess the situation.

Brindejonc confirmed that Masys reported the issue by phone to customer service on August 1, but the situation was apparently reported inaccurately which meant the problem couldn’t be properly identified or the proper action taken.

At press time, a Hydro technician was scheduled to be on-site at the Masys property to assess the situation and work to remove it should be completed by next Thursday, added Brindejonc. Hydro also apologized for the incident and said its primary aim is to always provide excellent customer service.

Masys’ situation of having to wait months for a response from Hydro is apparently not unique when it comes to customer dealings with publicly-owned utility. Last week representatives from the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges discussed the issue of Hydro’s unique autonomy and lack of customer accountability with journalists during a general press briefing at MRC headquarters on November 24.

The briefing was presided by MRC Prefect and Mayor of Très-Saint Rédempteur Jean Lalonde, MRC Director General Guy-Lin Beaudoin and Communications Director Simon Richard. The MRC represents the regional governing body for the 23 municipalities under its jurisdiction.

Lalonde cited another example of Hydro inaction during the briefing saying that one Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot resident waited at least two years before his house was connected to the main power grid.

“I think that Hydro has too much power now,” said Lalonde. “I feel for the citizens of Vaudreuil-Soulanges. There are people in our municipalities that have been waiting for one year and more to get services. We’re trying to get an explanation from Hydro because it’s not normal to have these situations.”

The experience Masys is dealing with,“...is a perfect example of the bad service we get from Hydro-Québec. This is why the MRC Prefect wants Hydro to be a part of the mandate under the Quebec National Assembly’s Protecteur du citoyen (ombudsman) so that people can make complaints,” said Richard.

Even the construction of the new MRC headquarters on Harwood Boulevard in Vaudreuil-Dorion has been affected Hydro’s inadequate response time, said Richard. He noted that its taken almost one year for their request for electrical work to done at the job site before Hydro personnel arrived recently, adding the MRC had to contact the National Assembly deputy to try to resolve the situation.

The issue was also raised during the November St. Lazare council meeting when Masys asked at the time whether there was something the town administration could do to help. Mayor Robert Grimaudo replied there was nothing they could do.

“Unfortunately, what the MRC has communicated is true,” said Grimaudo. “Hydro-Québec pretty much is an entity on its own. Municipalities have very little if no control over Hydro-Québec. The other problem is as the MRC mentioned, when it comes to Hydro-Québec, you can’t complain to anybody.

“They’re the only people you can complain to and if they’re not willing to take action, the residents have very little if no other options,” Grimaudo added. “It is definitely not a good situation and unfortunately Mr. Masys was not alone with have having issues with Hydro-Québec.”

Hydro spokesperson Jonathan Petit replied by saying the utility will address concerns raised by the MRC about their service in the New Year. “Hydro-Québec is well aware about the complaints from the MRC and we are aware there are certain dossiers that they would like to discuss with us. We will meet with MRC representatives in January,” said Petit.

“A date has already been set we will talk about how we can improve service for our customers in the MRC. Hydro-Québec is already working harder to give better service to the population and we want to cooperate with all our customers and the MRC.”

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