Even this actress can’t stand Hydro-Québec anymore

Sophie Bourgeois, herself a victim of connection delays and poor communication from Hydro-Québec, wants to make a difference and help the approximately 500 customers who have been waiting for access to electricity for more than two years.

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Sophie Bourgeois, who starred in “L’école, CA” and “Cornemuse” and a dozen other television series and films, is among Hydro-Québec’s customers whose connection appointments are constantly postponed and who search in vain for answers from the state-owned company. She’s moving into her new home in January and until recently was worried she wouldn’t have electricity in time for winter.

“I submitted my application to my master electrician on March 7, 2023. After an initial postponement, I was informed that I would finally be connected on October 25th. But ultimately, if all goes well, I’m afraid I won’t be connected until next spring. So I’ll be semi-camping with my two kids until then, that’s not looking good!” She told us during a meeting at her home on Thursday morning.

Too many speakers

The case of this actress, who lives in the Laurentians, highlights the complexity of the connection process at Hydro-Québec. A process that involves multiple phases and multiple stakeholders who all too often pass the buck.

On the street where Sophie Bourgeois lives, an old transformer has been overloaded for a long time. Hydro therefore has to change it. But to replace the transformer, Hydro needs to replace the pole with a larger one. To install this new post you may need to drill if it is on rock. Why maybe? Because Hydro-Québec has still not come to assess the situation.

“When I call Hydro-Québec, I get different versions every time. There I am told that it is the subcontractors who are not responding because they are too busy. But thanks to a contact at Hydro, I was able to find out who this subcontractor was. This subcontractor was called and guess what? They replied: “No, we have space. We’re just waiting for Hydros to go,” she says.

Short showers

On November 7, Hydro-Québec announced to Sophie Bourgois a new connection date: February 26, 2024. The problem is that the state-owned company also told her that Hydro “does not drill in winter,” so another employee told him, yes , Hydro drilling in winter… If replacing the rod requires drilling, we will have to wait for the thaw next spring.

Meanwhile, Sophie Bourgeois has to pay her electrician more than $1,000 to connect her temporary power to her home’s electrical panel so she can survive the winter. “But I’ll be plugged into 100 amps. When I leave the stove I have to turn off the light. And my children have to take very short showers. I don’t have to deal with it. I’ve been paying for my electricity since I was 16!”

The file is suddenly unlocked

On Thursday evening, the Journal informed Hydro-Québec about the situation and asked them for their version of the facts. The next day, Sophie Bourgeois received a call from Hydro informing her that her file “had been accepted as a humanitarian matter” and that it had been presented “to the prioritization committee on November 13th.”

The connection, Hydro-Québec confirmed to us on Friday, “should be completed in the coming weeks.” In its response, Hydro-Québec states that it did not receive the master electrician’s work request (to erect the mast) until October 20, 2023 , hence an explanation for the delays.

“You know as of March 7, 2023 that my new power input requires 320 amps. Since April they have also had proof that our house is being built. They could have come to drill and replace the rod since then, they wouldn’t have had to wait until we reached the connection,” laments the actress. “We did the work alone. If we warned them so much in advance, it was to tell them that you, on your part, do what you have to do. You have to change a pole, change a transformer, start thinking about it.”

Internal grumbling at Hydro

Even if her case is resolved faster than expected, Sophie Bourgeois wants to go public to make things happen. Not just for her and her family, but on behalf of all her loved ones. “I understand that there can be pitfalls, but Hydro-Québec has not offered me any solutions. It’s a monopoly and we depend on them and they take no responsibility. It has to change. We shouldn’t have to go to the media to make a difference,” she says.

Internal sources at Hydro-Québec have also told the Journal that they are “disgusted” by the way their employer is managing these cases. “Do what you have to do,” one of them said, “because it’s high time for things to change.”

Recall that Le Journal recently revealed that Hydro-Québec currently has 492 connection or electricity requests from residential customers made over a period of more than 24 months, a record.

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