Montréal, December 7, 2022
Report by the Auditor GeneralHydro-Québec is already working to optimize system maintenance and reduce outages
In its report on preventive maintenance of power distribution assets, the Auditor General of Québec issued recommendations that Hydro-Québec endorses and has already begun to implement. Our evolving practices regarding the operation and maintenance of the distribution system are included in our Strategic Plan 2022–2026, and since 2018, we have been working to improve the situation with regard to all of the points raised.
Hydro-Québec makes every effort to provide reliable power to its customers while limiting upward pressure on rates. To do so, we attack on two fronts when it comes to efficiently reducing outages:
- Preventive pole maintenance
- Vegetation control operations (our investments in this regard have increased from about $60 million in 2018 to over $100 million in 2021)
Although vegetation is at the root of 40% to 70% of outages, our proactive vegetation control activities were unfortunately excluded from the Auditor General’s report.
It is also important to take into account two key factors that have monopolized our crews and limited the resources available for preventive maintenance:
- An increase in the frequency and intensity of weather events related to climate change, for instance the major storm front (derecho) in May 2022
- The 36% increase in connection requests over the past two years, to which we are required to respond
The report confirms that we are on the right track
The Auditor General’s report highlights the ongoing improvements and the results observed.
- In 2020, we implemented a five-year plan that aims to reduce outages and includes the inspection of overhead lines.
- Since 2021, we have increased our preventive maintenance operations by 71% compared with 2020.
- We are currently working on a project designed to strengthen the power system, thanks in particular to the installation of wildlife guards on more than 400,000 transformers. We increased the budget allocated to this project by 43% to ensure we have the resources required to meet our objectives.
Moreover, given that our system is halfway through its service life, we have put together a cross-functional team to provide an overview of the investments required to ensure the long-term operability of our assets and to refine our preventive strategies.
Service quality and customer satisfaction are at the heart of Hydro-Québec’s priorities. That’s why we will make every effort to ensure the reliability and resiliency of our power system.
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