Because of the cheaters, Hydro-Québec is considering changing the Hilo rules

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&Because of cheaters, Hydro-Québec is thinking of changing the rules of Hilo

Participants are overconsuming water electricity just before the peaks to maximize their cash back.

An announcement from the Hilo subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, which enables smart electricity management.

David Corbeil is disgusted with the behavior of some Hilo customers. While he is keen to reduce his consumption during peak demand, he notices that other users of the service hijack the principle to make tens or even hundreds of additional dollars in rewards.


“They increase their consumption on purpose, it’s outrageous,” he explains. For example, he has noticed on social media that some are bragging about the financial gains they make by pushing the temperature as high as possible just before the challenge begins.

“Hilo's reason is to move consumption, not to play with the algorithm to make people think consumes more at a time and save more money than one should.

— David Corbeil, Hilo User

The Hydro-Québec subsidiary was launched in 2019 to reduce the electricity consumption of participating residences and businesses during winter peaks to meet other needs.

Hilo offers a smart home concept with a control system and smart thermostats managed from a phone. By optimizing their consumption and meeting Hilo's challenges to reduce their activities during peak periods, customers get cash rewards.

The Hilo subsidiary has at least 20,000 users.

In a Facebook group of Hilo members, a customer writes : “we tricked the machine to maximize our dollar reward”.

The formula for calculating the rewards takes into account several criteria, and one of them is the consumption during anchor hours, just before the challenge. The bigger the drop, the more Hilo believes the customer has made an effort and the more it rewards them.

On February 1, a customer, for example, bragged about x27;earned $62 reward from 113kWh shedding.

“If we're a little dishonest, we could heat the house with the windows open, weld in the garage for fun, do the washing, drying and running the dishwasher during the anchor period, all that for increase the possible erasure, afterwards close the main breaker and hello $$$ bidoux.

— A Hilo user, on a Facebook group of subscribers to the program

Other users complained about the abuses: “We get along all to say that Hilo has a totally dumb anchor calculation method that makes it simple to exploit and ultimately defeat Hilo's primary purpose

In a message to “cheaters”, David Corbeil wrote to them: “Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's moral. “

“I contacted Hilo and said, 'This doesn't make sense, you're in trouble.' tricking you”.

— David Corbeil, Hilo User

“We are aware that some customers try in different ways to maximize their performance during the challenges,” says Hydro-Québec spokesperson Cendrix Bouchard.

“We are of course opposed to voluntary overconsumption which goes against the very principle of Hilo which aims for peak management, but also efficient consumption”, adds -t-he.

“We are evaluating the possibility of taking action to prevent tricks of this kind from having an impact on the collective good and promoting overconsumption. […] We are currently analyzing the situation, the impacts and could intervene with certain customers if necessary.

—Cendrix Bouchard, Hydro-Quebec spokesperson

“However, it is a very small proportion of our customers” who cheat, mentions Cendrix Bouchard. Hilo had 20,000 customers at the start of winter.

“We also find that many customers are aware that while such actions are legal, they are not desirable,” the Crown corporation says.

In the agreement of the participant, it is written that “If Hilo finds that the service or accommodation has been manipulated in such a way as to alter, rig or interfere with the electricity consumption of the accommodation or the metering of the electricity consumption of the accommodation, the Participant's rewards may be capped or reviewed by Hilo, or both. Additionally, Hilo may terminate this Agreement.”

Last year, Hilo users enabled the displacement of 14 megawatts of power, or half less than what was planned.

Hydro-Québec refuses to reveal the sums invested in its subsidiary and its financial results.

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