Step back to move forward : Option consommateurs CFIB and AQCIE call on government to split Bill 34

Montreal, September 25, 2019 - Option consommateurs, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and the Association québécoise des consommateurs industriels d'électricité (AQCIE) reiterate today that Bill 34 is not to the advantage of Hydro-Québec customers. By removing important powers from the Régie de l'énergie, the Quebec government is depriving consumers and businesses of a rigorous, independent rate-setting process that can limit the appetite of the electricity distribution monopoly.


Near-unanimous opposition

At the close of parliamentary hearings held from September 17 to 20, the consensus among electricity consumer groups and other civil society stakeholders was that Bill 34 would lead to less transparency, less accountability and more expensive electricity rates. By seeking to simplify the electricity rate-setting process, the government misses the mark and would make Quebec an exceptional jurisdiction in North America where electricity prices would not be set by an independent regulator. The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonatan Julien, has admitted it himself: Bill 34 could lead to higher electricity rates than under the current regulatory framework.
regulatory framework.


Let the Régie do its work and split Bill 34

Too often in the past, the government has interfered in the activities of the Régie de l'énergie, to the detriment of all Hydro-Québec customers. Bill 34 continues this tradition, unnecessarily politicizing the debates surrounding the setting of electricity rates.
electricity rates. The solution has proven itself: the Régie de l'énergie has saved Hydro-Québec customers more than $900 million over the past ten years. Let the Régie do its job of reviewing Hydro-Québec's annual rate applications.
Option consommateursThe CFIB and the AQCIE, representing all Hydro-Québec customers, are therefore asking Minister Julien to divide Bill 34 so as to deal separately with the promised $500 million refund to electricity consumers, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, with the proposed tariffs.
on the one hand, and changes to the independent powers of the Régie de l'énergie on the
powers of the Régie de l'énergie.


Non-political reflection needed

The Act respecting the Régie de l'énergie was passed over twenty years ago. A review of the role and powers of the Régie de l'énergie is in order, especially as the electricity market will be transformed in the coming years. Rather than hastily removing important powers from the Régie, Option consommateurs, CFIB and QBIC propose that Minister Julien hold apolitical public consultations on the future of energy regulation in Quebec.





"Almost all the speakers at the parliamentary commission confirmed that Bill 34 is not in the interests of consumers. We are asking the Minister to split his bill and instead consider holding a broader reflection on the future of energy regulation in Quebec".

Christian Corbeil, General Manager ofOption consommateurs



"Nothing justifies such haste on an issue as important as electricity and the future of energy in Quebec.
and the future of energy in Quebec. Once Quebecers and businesses have been reimbursed the $500 million in overpayments
and businesses, the government can count on us to think carefully and thoroughly about these issues.
on these issues.

Gopinath Jeyabalaratnam, Economic and Government Affairs Advisor, CFIB



"A government that claims to be concerned with maintaining and creating well-paid jobs
by fostering a business climate conducive to investment, must understand that Bill
that Bill 34 is of great concern to Quebec industrialists, who realize that they will be even more
captive to Hydro-Québec, and that they will pay more for the electricity on which they depend.

Jocelyn B. Allard, President of AQCIE



About OCOption consommateurs
OC (Option consommateurs) was founded in 1983. It is a cooperative association that defends and promotes consumer rights on a national scale. OC takes an active interest in issues related to the energy bills of residential consumers, who are subject to the Distributor's Rate D.

About CFIB
CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) is the country's largest SME association, with 110,000 members in all sectors and regions. It aims to increase the chances of success for SMEs by defending their interests
providing personalized resources and offering exclusive savings. Visit to find out more. SMEs represented by CFIB are, for the most part, subject to the Distributor's G and M rates.

AQCIE (Association québécoise des consommateurs industriels d'électricité), founded in 1981, is an association representing the interests of Quebec's largest industrial electricity consumers. These industries, well established in the regions of Quebec, consume more than a third of the electricity sold by Hydro-Québec Distribution, corresponding to a value of over three billion dollars a year.


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Dominique Des Rosiers, CFIB Press Attaché and Public Affairs Advisor
Tel: 514 861-3234, ext. 1808
Cell. : 514 817-0228
[email protected]

Jocelyn B. Allard, President, AQCIE
Tel.: 514 350-5496
Cell. : 514 910-8027
[email protected]

Option consommateurs
Tel.: 514-777-6133