We’ve developed two new rate offerings: the Winter Credit Option and Rate Flex G, which will apply starting in winter 2019–2020. They will enable customers to save money by reducing their electricity use in critical peak periods, at our request. Customers who voluntarily help us reduce our electricity needs at times when demand is high will be compensated accordingly.
These “critical peak events” occur during the winter period, that is, from December 1 of one year through March 31 of the next year. Critical peak events may occur any time between 6 and 9 a.m. and between 4 and 8 p.m., when demand for electricity is the greatest.
Critical peak events cannot exceed 100 hours per winter period. They can vary from one year to the next according to Hydro-Québec’s needs, which are related to the severity of the winter. Critical peak events will not be called on December 24, 25, 26 or 31; January 1 or 2; Good Friday or Easter Monday.
To provide optimum support to customers and ensure the success of the new rate offerings, they will be rolled out gradually.
- For winter 2019–2020, the rollout will be limited to 2,000 business customers.
- When the sign-up period beings, we will inform customers and those wishing to participate will be able to sign up for one of the offerings.
- Enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
- To sign up for dynamic pricing, you need to have a Customer Space and a valid email address.
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Frequently asked questions
More about dynamic pricing
Who’s eligible for dynamic pricing?
Both offerings are intended for customers who pay Rate G and are able to reduce or displace their electricity use at Hydro-Québec’s request. For winter 2019–2020, the rollout will be limited to 2,000 business customers and enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Why has Hydro-Québec come up with these new rate offerings?
With these rate offerings, everyone is a winner. Customers who are able to reduce or displace electricity use at Hydro-Québec’s request benefit because their efforts translate into savings. Hydro-Québec benefits because of the reduced electricity demand during peak periods.
Would Hydro-Québec consider extending dynamic pricing to the summer?
No. In contrast to our Canadian and American neighbors, the demand for electricity in Québec is very strongly influenced by the use of electric heating systems in most buildings. As a result, demand is much higher in winter than in summer. Even if air-conditioning use were to increase in Québec, it’s unlikely that demand would reach critical peaks requiring the implementation of dynamic pricing in summer.
Do I have to sign up for the Winter Credit Option or Rate Flex G?
No. Signing up for dynamic pricing is optional.
Why limit the number of participants the first year?
As these offerings are new, we’ve chosen to limit the number of participants in winter 2019–2020 so that we can provide them with optimal support. We’ll take their feedback into account as we roll out the dynamic pricing on a larger scale. Eventually, dynamic pricing will be available to all customers, who will be able to opt in if they wish, subject to eligibility criteria.
How will you select participants?
In fall 2019, our Rate G customers will be informed of when the sign-up period will begin. They will then be able to sign up on a first-come, first-served basis.
I’m very interested in dynamic pricing. Can I sign up right away?
No. Not until the sign-up period starts in fall 2019.
Can I put my name on a waiting list?
No. You’ll have to wait for the sign-up period in fall 2019 for the opportunity to sign up for one of the new rate offerings. If the maximum number of customers has already signed up, you’ll have to wait for the next phase of the rollout.
Can I sign up for Rate Flex G if my service contract is at Rate M or G9?
Critical peak events
What’s a critical peak event?
It’s a time period during which Hydro-Québec has determined that electricity demand will be very high. People who’ve opted for the winter credit or Rate Flex G are encouraged to use less electricity during those periods.
When do critical peak events occur?
Critical peak events can take place from December 1 to March 31, between 6 and 9 a.m. and between 4 and 8 p.m. There may be a maximum of 25 to 33 events per winter, for a total of up to 100 hours.
Why don’t critical peak events occur systematically every day during peak hours?
By targeting fewer hours (maximum of 100 per winter), we can offer a more significant price difference between peak periods and off-peak periods, which optimizes our customers’ savings potential.
How it works
What’s the difference between the Winter Credit Option and Rate Flex G?
|Question||Winter Credit Option||Rate Flex G|
|Will my service contract rate change?||No, the base rate still applies.||Yes.|
|How can I save money?||By using less electricity than usual during critical peak events.||By displacing your nonessential consumption to outside of critical peak events and limiting your consumption during critical peak events.|
|Is there a chance my electricity bill might go up?||No, because the base rate applies.||Yes, because consumption during critical peak events is billed at 50¢/kWh.|
|When do critical peak events occur?||Any day, including weekends.||Weekdays only.|
Do I have to participate in all of the critical peak events?
No, but you will maximize your savings if you reduce your electricity use during each critical peak event. If you are unable to reduce or displace your electricity use during one of these events and you have:
- the Winter Credit Option, electricity will be billed at the base rate. You won’t get a credit, but your bill won’t go up.
- Rate Flex G, electricity will be billed at 50¢/kWh during the critical peak events. Your bill could go up if you don’t reduce your electricity use during these events.
Ways to save
What are the main things I can do during critical peak events to maximize my savings with dynamic pricing?
If your company’s premises are heated using electricity, the main way you can save with dynamic pricing is by lowering the setpoint temperature throughout the facility during critical peak events.
If you have a nonelectric auxiliary heating system on the premises, you could use it to reduce your electricity consumption.
You could also put off using hot water or charging electric vehicles, if applicable, or shift your use of energy-intensive appliances to periods outside of critical peak events.
My company’s premises are heated using a fuel (oil, propane, natural gas or wood pellets). Is signing up for one of the dynamic rate offerings worth it for me?
Savings under the dynamic rate offerings depend on the electricity consumption that you can reduce during critical peak events or shift to periods outside of them. Heating makes up a major part of consumption for customers who heat using electricity and is also the best potential source of savings for them.
You can also save by putting off hot water use or electric vehicle charging, if applicable, or by shifting your use of energy-intensive appliances to periods outside of critical peak events.
With the Flex rate, how is my company supposed to continue its activities if electricity costs 50¢/kWh during critical peak events?
Keep in mind that signing up for dynamic pricing is absolutely optional. The Flex rate is for customers who are able to reduce their consumption during certain periods or to shift it outside of these periods.
To achieve savings with the Flex rate, you must be able to reduce your consumption during critical peak events when the price is high. This is the incentive for you to limit or shift your use of energy-intensive appliances.
If you find Rate Flex G too restrictive, the Winter Credit Option combined with Rate G could be a better choice for you. With this option, when you are unable to reduce your consumption during a critical peak event, you don’t receive a credit, but you aren’t penalized. Whichever rate offering you chose, you need to change your electricity consumption habits during critical peak events to save.
Do I need to run my electric appliances in the middle of the night?
Not necessarily. Critical peak events take place between 6 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 8 p.m. To reduce your electricity consumption during these events, you should use energy-intensive appliances outside of these time periods.
I don’t have any special technology to help me manage my electricity use. Should my company still sign up for one of your dynamic rate offerings?
Yes. The potential savings are based primarily on your ability to change your electricity use habits. You don’t have to invest in special technology to take advantage of dynamic pricing.
The potential savings are specific to each company and depend on your energy consumption profile, how motivated you are and your ability to reduce your consumption or shift it outside of critical peak events. Smart devices can help manage your consumption, but they are not an absolute must.