HYDRO QUEBEC: Take 2.9
This ain’t movie making, this is the real deal.
Yesterday was All Fools Day. Aside from the usual corny jokes an pranks, if you’re still inclined to hold on to that old tradition, April 1 has become more serious, synonymous with Hydro Quebec adding another couple percentage points to what invariably adds to its annually inflating bottom line.
In addition to the pranks, customers can now dub April 1 Hydro Day; the annual increases are no joke.
So to demonstrate their displeasure with the 2015 financial exaction (or extraction, whichever is less painful), about 100,000 Quebecers, in a social media-driven exercise, said they would be turning off their breakers last night. Wonder how many truly did. I imagine they all resorted to the historically dependable—candlelight, as well as battery-operated devices for light. And for heat, well, bodies and blankets.
[Oh yes, a few days ago in a sort of footnote news item, it was suggested—or predicted—that by December or January of 2016 there will be, let’s say, a mini bumper crop of babies. It might be spring, but people still gotta stay warm.]
Participants in last night’s symbolic (lights-out) gesture were basically “expressing their anger,” according to one of the people who initiated the All Fool’s Day, anti-Hydro rate increase protest. “It’s to give them a sense of power.”
Fine, as far as that goes, but in the end, whether we blacked or not, I’m sure Hydro in turn simply shrugged its shoulders and said it’s a free world, customers can do what they like as long as they… we pay our bills. It was its same reaction last year, and the year before that… and the year…
And Hydro is right; we’re its electric hostages. We have no alternative. And the government, owner of the electric cow, concluded long ago that we all are a ready, steady, guaranteed source of money.
In any case, it was that 100K people’s way of protesting the state power giant’s insatiable appetite for more… not water, consumers’ money.
All the grumbling, protesting and whatnot notwithstanding; it’s how the provincial energy provider does it. They request their raise, and the government (the owner) complies. Which explains why the energy giant racked up record profits of over $3,000,000,000 last year. And if every thing goes well this year, the story will be the same in 2016 when we’re again given the good news that the electric giant surpassed 2014’s record profits.
That fact had a gentleman I met at a bus stop last weekend steaming. Saturday was a little cool so his was wearing a red jacket, over a colourful sweater and a pair of flashy khaki pants. He told me he was going to the protests downtown because he’s “tired of those (fuddle duddling) politicians… They don’t give a fuddle about people.”
He was an interesting character, a 75 year-old Quebecois.
The bus finally arrived, we boarded and continued talking… and he began telling me about himself. He’s retired and has a lot of time on his hands. He watches a lot of TV he says, “especially news from around the world.”
But the way things are going in Quebec right now is just driving him crazy. He has no political allegiances [to any party]; he’s been around long enough to conclude that they’re all the same, engaged in the same “political games and shenanigans…” And looking at the political landscape there’s enough evidence to support his position.
“Everything is going up,” he said. “People are paying more and more for everything…but those guys don’t give a (fuddle)…”
We got to the metro, just barely caught the train. He asked me if I was going downtown, which I wasn’t; the first stop was mine. So as I approached, he said, “Nice talking to you sir.” I told him the feeling was mutual, and I’ll “see you on the news tonight.”
And that was that.
That gentleman also said the weather is getting nicer, so he’ll be among the people on the street as more and more come out to vent their frustrations with the government and everything that’s churning in the bellies of the socially disenchanted. Hydro Quebec’s 2.9 per cent will only exacerbate things…
With annual increases in mind, when all is said and done it’s safe to say that the energy conglomerate has all the power, not us, to do as it wishes. Whenever it wants an increase for its product it will request and receive. That has become an annual truism.
And when all the symbolic protests, griping and groaning… have stopped, Hydro Quebec will have already re-programmed its computers (much like its so-called smart meters) to account for the 2.9 per cent increase. I give up!
Our next bills will be in the mail soon.