Fitzgibbon returns to the charge with energy sobriety

The Minister of Economy and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, did not rule out on Thursday the possibility of presenting a bill by the end of the year that would encourage Hydro-Québec customers to start their dishwasher at night to take advantage of cheaper rates.

In December, Mr. Fitzgibbon had already formulated this intention, but Prime Minister François Legault then said that this hypothesis would not be considered in the short term.

Thursday, during the study of the credits of the Ministry of Energy, Mr. Fitzgibbon twice gave the example of the pressures that Hydro-Québec customers would exert if they decided to recharge their electric car around 17 h, in periods when consumption peaks.

“We will have to be innovative in our way of consuming because if all these vehicles are charging at five o’clock in the evening, there will be power problems and it will not work”, he declared in parliamentary committee.

Asked to clarify his thoughts on the subject, Mr. Fitzgibbon said that a bill expected this fall could include aspects that affect residential rates, after a consultation period.

“There are a lot of people who will recommend to us a modulation of pricing to ensure that behaviors are adjusted as needed. The number one issue, if people don’t want to be told that we are going to increase electricity rates, maybe we can reduce them for people who consume better. »

Mr. Fitzgibbon clarified the example of the use of dishwashers that he had used previously.

“The dishwasher is a good example, if you are able to have a timer on your dishwasher and you consume at two in the morning, you will pay less,” he said.

In January, Mr. Legault said that the bill expected in the fall would only address business pricing.

Thursday, Mr. Fitzgibbon explained that the modulation of residential rates could also be addressed in this legislative text.

“We put commercial, residential and industrial on the table, we put everything on the table,” he said.

Mr. Fitzgibbon said that the increase in energy efficiency requirements, which were raised to 25 TWh recently, means that action must be taken.

“Behaviours will have to follow. Will modulated pricing be needed to encourage behavior? Maybe. But of course you have to be careful. »

The minister’s office then indicated that modulation would not lead to an increase in current tariffs but rather a reduction to encourage consumption outside peak periods.

More details will follow.

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