14 March 2012

Unions oppose energy conservation device #nlpoli

Unions representing Hydro-Quebec employees are oppose to a plan to install so-called smart meters in Quebec homes.  According to the Montreal Gazette:

One week before the Régie de l’énergie is to begin hearings on the controversial venture, the Syndicate des employés de techniques professionnels et de bureau d’Hydro-Québec denounced the move at a media conference.

The union has submitted an economic analysis of the project to the energy board that contends Hydro-Québec would lose $104 million over 20 years, while the new network would wipe out about 1,000 direct and indirect jobs.


- srbp -


bouchecl said...

The interesting bit here is that the energy conservation bit is outside the scope of this case (R-3770-2011).

The way I understand it, Hydro-Québec could not make a compelling case for energy conservation with the data they collected in their pilot project (PTHJ) in 2009-2010.

Once the meters and the rest of the AMI infrastructure is in place however, they have other possibilities to reduce peak load, which is what they're most interested in (with stuff like curtailing water heating when needed, etc)

So, HQ decided to introduce the AMI meters through limiting their argument to a strict economic case: over 20 years, automated meter reading would save $300 M, mainly by eliminating meter reader positions (700 positions - 10% of HQD workforce), while improving accuracy of billing, simplifying connect/disconnect (lots of renters move on July 1st every year), and reducing energy theft.

No wonder why CUPE local 2000 is up in arms. But their rationale is flimsy at best as their brief assumes all 4 million meters would need to be replaced after 15 years (the depreciation pereiod for these meters). But under current practice, half the current (mechanical) meters are in the field for more than their depreciation period of 30 years.

There is little doubt in my mind that HQ will get their approval, as the Régie won't buy CUPE's argument or whatever is brought forward by the tinfoil hat brigade which I expect will be very vocal at next week's public hearings.

Edward Hollett said...

Thanks Claude. That's tons of great detail that help to put the story in perspective.

I posted this because it shows that quirky arguments don't just happen in this province.

At least in Quebec the utility is trying conservation.