• John Jantak

MRC moves forward with call to place Hydro-Québec under ombudsman’s watch


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK MRC

Acting MRC Prefect and Mayor of Île-Perrot, Marc Roy (left), and Director General Guy-Lin Beaudoin said the MRC is going ahead with their demand that Hydro-Québec fall under the domain of the provincial ombudsman.

The Municipalité Régionale de Communauté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges is going ahead with their demand that Hydro-Québec fall under the domain of the provincial ombudsman despite a ‘very positive’ meeting with David Murray, the President of Hydro-Québec Distribution in mid-January, regarding the utility’s reported inadequate responses to customer complaints.

MRC Acting Prefect and Mayor of l’Île-Perrot Marc Roy and MRC Director-General Guy-Lin Beaudoin provided the update during a press briefing January 26 at the new MRC headquarters on Harwood Boulevard in Vaudreuil-Dorion about Hydro’s shortcomings in providing suitable service.

The request comes after numerous individual customer complaints and from the MRC’s own recent experiences regarding Hydro’s apparent inefficiency in responding to specific requests during the development phase that affected the construction of its new three-storey building.

Beaudoin credited the Hydro president for acknowledging, “...that things were totally unacceptable and he didn’t try to defend the un-defendable. He was very open.” But Beaudoin was also critical of several Hydro-specific issues regarding the MRC building that added $200,000 more to the cost of the project, including having to significantly alter the construction project instead of having a hydro pole removed.

“For us, it was totally abnormal that instead of removing one hydro pole, we had to move the entire building,” Beaudoin told Your Local Journal. “We had to redo our entire architectural and engineering plans because the electrical room was no longer in the same spot. The cost of this operation, because we had to pay Hydro-Québec, was $83,000.”

The request to have Hydro under the ombudsman is meant specifically to help customers lodge complaints to an impartial forum instead of directly to Hydro which is self-administered and doesn’t answer to any other body, said Beaudoin.

“We will continue to ask Hydro to make some changes and we want the Québec government to put Hydro under the provincial ombudsman,” said Beaudoin.

“One person in Notre-Dame-de-l’île Perrot waited two years to be connected. Two years. Could you believe it? Two years without electricity. We’re not supposed to be a banana republic, but sometimes we look like one. We want our entire population to have a voice,” Beaudoin added.

Power outages

Hydro-Québec addressed the power shortages that occurred in early January by issuing a press release - to assure customers that, “...the service interruptions which took place over the last few weeks do not meet our standards in terms of quality service.”

Several customers lost power for about one hour on January 8 because of equipment failure at the Carillion substation that resulted in continuous alternating one half-hour load-shedding outages on January 9 as crews and technicians worked to repair the problem.

As part of its commitment to improve service and provide more stability to the power supply, Hydro noted that a new 120-kilovolt power line will be built this year to increase transmission capacity to the Vaudreuil-Soulanges substation to meet the region’s sharp increase in electricity demand. A transformer will also be added.

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