Christinne Muschi The Canadian Press According to Minister Fitzgibbon, the financial package of the development plan presented Thursday by the state-owned company, which plans investments of $155 to $185 billion by 2035 to increase its production, remains to be clarified. 'electricity.
The Minister of the Economy and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, was convinced of being able to finance the billions in investments required to develop Hydro-Québec, despite the risk of a drop in its dividends due to capping residential rates.
Mr. Fitzgibbon affirmed that it will be necessary to specify the financial package of the development plan presented Thursday by the state company, which plans investments of 155 to 185 billion dollars by 2035 to increase its electricity production. /p>
“We have to look at public finances,” he said Thursday in a press scrum. Hydro-Québec can borrow. There are different sources of money. We have to look in the coming years at how we do this by 2035.”
Minister Fitzgibbon returned to the impact on Hydro-Québec's finances of a solemn commitment from François Legault to maintain the cap on residential rate increases beyond 2025.
To compensate a resulting shortfall in earnings, businesses would have to pay more for their electricity, otherwise Hydro-Québec's dividends would decrease, explained the minister.
- Hydro-Québec will invest tens of billions of dollars to increase its production
- Hydro-Québec rates will “never increase » by more than 3%, promises Legault
“Mr. Legault is very clear that we must leave it at 3%,” he said. So either we are going to charge commercial or industrial, or there will be less profits at Hydro Quebec, so the decisions have not yet been made. »
Mr. Fitzgibbon also explained that the most recent version of the state-owned company's orientations, presented Thursday by its president and CEO, Michael Sabia, are formulated over a period which ends before the end of a major contract. supply with Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We look at what is under the control of Quebec. Mr. Sabia announced an 8000 to 9000 MW by 2035, this is being done in Quebec. If other projects are done in Newfoundland, it will be additional,” he said.
Hydro-Québec has initiated negotiations with Newfoundland and Labrador to continue to 'purchase the production of the Churchill Falls power station, whose contract ends in 2041.
The state corporation has already begun preliminary work to examine the hydroelectric potential of the Petit Mécatina River, on the North Shore.
The Minister responsible for Relations with First Nations, Ian Lafrenière, reiterated that no project will be done without social acceptability.
“There are several communities who came to see us in bilateral meetings who want projects, so we are giving ourselves the time to look at that », he said.
Squaring the circle
The interim leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), Marc Tanguay, expressed doubts about the financial package intended for the development of Hydro-Québec.
“It’s the squaring of the circle, at one At some point, someone is going to have to pick up the bill,” he said.
Mr. Tanguay underlined the government's commitment to capping residential rates.
“The 100 billion, at some point, the dividends will decrease, then the dividends, I remind you, it directly helps us provide our essential state services,” he said.
The co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, affirmed that the file seems marked by improvisation.
“We are promised 185 billion in investment by 2035 is 12 years away, and we're being told: we're going to do that without increasing prices. Well, we will have to explain to us, with transparency, how they are going to get there,” he declared.
The Parti Québécois (PQ) urged the government and Hydro-Québec to demonstrate transparency and to reveal which rivers where dams will be built.
“Before considering the construction of new hydroelectric dams, we must launch a major energy efficiency project and assess our capacity to maximize our potential with other technologies such as wind and solar energy,” said Pascal Bérubé, PQ spokesperson for natural resources.