Hydro Quebec LogoCUPE, which represents close to 16,000 Hydro-Québec employees, has expressed its disagreement with two major decisions regarding the management of electricity in Quebec. First of all, Hydro-Québec intends to transfer all of its Electric Circuit vehicle charging stations to the private sector. In addition, Hydro-Québec will be privatizing its high-voltage testing laboratory in Varennes and, at the same time, issuing a loan-subsidy of $30 million to Hitachi, which will be taking it over.

For CUPE, both developments are consistent with the government’s willingness to privatize public electricity services.

“Following confirmation of the government’s handover of wind energy system to the private sector and the bill by Minister Fitzgibbon which would break up Hydro-Québec’s monopoly in electricity distribution, these two pieces of bad news do not come as a surprise to anyone. It is clear that, for months now, the Legault government has been slowly but surely forging ahead with its plan to steamroll an emblem of the Quiet Revolution. It’s basically offering huge gifts to multinationals, which runs counter to Quebec’s interests,” said CUPE Quebec president Patrick Gloutney.  

“As for the Electric Circuit, it is clear that once the network of charging stations has been subsidized, the government’s intention is to sell it off to the private sector – the public sector incurs the expenses and the profits go to the private sector. We expect to see sharp rate hikes and the abandonment of lesser populated sectors and regions in Quebec. As far as Hitachi is concerned, funding will go to the private sector, which will turn around and further deplete HQ of its expertise and its ability to control its costs,” added Gloutney.

In recent months, CUPE locals representing Hydro-Québec workers have sounded the alarm by launching a public campaign on the impacts of privatizing Hydro-Québec.