Hydro‑Québec’s Electricity Rate Terms

Apparent power

Amount of electricity that Hydro‑Québec supplies to a customer, expressed in kilovoltamperes (kVA). When it is used, apparent power breaks down into real power (kW), which runs devices, and reactive power (kVAR), which produces magnetic fields and which is not useful power for the customer.

Available power

The amount of power, expressed in kilowatts (kW), which the customer may not exceed for a given contract without the authorization of Hydro‑Québec.

Bulk metering

Method of measuring energy consumed with a single meter instead of separate meters for an entire multiunit commercial or residential building. The building owner is responsible for dividing the costs between the occupants.

Consumption period

Period during which electricity is delivered to the customer and which extends between the two dates used by Hydro-Québec for calculation of the bill.

Contract power

Minimum demand that a large-power industrial rate customer (Rate L) agrees to pay and that Hydro‑Québec must be ready to supply at any time in response to the customer’s demand.

Current

Current, expressed in amperes (A), is the number of electrons carried by a conductor in one second. It is a function of voltage, expressed in volts (V), and resistance, expressed in ohms (Ω).

The formula for current is as follows: current (in amperes) is equal to voltage (in volts) divided by resistance (in ohms).

Energy

Power used by electrical equipment over a given period of time. Expressed in kilowatthours (kWh), energy is calculated as power, expressed in kilowatts (kW), multiplied by the time during which the power is used, expressed in hours (h).

The formula for energy is as follows: energy (in kilowatthours) is equal to power (in kilowatts) multiplied by duration of use (in hours).

High voltage

Voltage of 44 kV or more.

Independent producer

A producer of electrical power who either consumes for its own needs or sells all or part of the electricity power it produces to a third party or to Hydro‑Québec.

Load factor (LF)

Relationship between the energy (in kilowatthours) actually consumed and the amount of energy that can be consumed by using the entire maximum power demand throughout the consumption period. The load factor indicates the utilization rate of maximum power demand for a given consumption period.

Low voltage

Voltage of 750 V or less.

Maximum power demand

Maximum power measured during a consumption period. It is the higher of the following two values: real power in kilowatts (kW), or a percentage (90% for domestic rates and small- and medium‑power rates, or 95% for large‑power rates) of the apparent power in kilovoltamperes (kVA).

Medium voltage

Voltage of more than 750 V, but less than 44 kV.

Minimum billing demand (minimum demand)

The minimum amount of power that the customer must pay for each consumption period, regardless of electricity use. The threshold is set so that you pay your share of the costs Hydro‑Québec incurs to meet your power needs at all times. The minimum billing demand is determined by the conditions of each rate, as indicated in the Electricity Rates.

  • For all rates except Rate L, the minimum billing demand is automatically determined based on the previous winter’s maximum power demand.
  • Rate L customers must set their own minimum billing demand, called “contract power,” based on the amount of electricity they expect to use.

Minimum charge (minimum monthly bill)

Minimum amount billable for electricity service even if little or no electricity has been used in the billing period.

Monthly period

Period of 30 days, which may begin on any day of the month, established by Hydro‑Québec for billing purposes.

Multiplier

A factor that is applied to the system access charge, to the consumption at the various energy price tiers and to the base billing demand, as applicable depending on the rate.

Power

Total amount of electricity supplied at a given time. Expressed in kilowatts (kW), power is the combined effect of voltage, expressed in kilovolts (kV), and current, expressed in amperes (A).

Power demand

Power a customer requires to meet energy needs at a given time. The higher the customer’s energy consumption at a given time, the higher the power demand.

Power factor

Ratio of real power (in kW) and apparent power (in kVA). The power factor is expressed as a percentage and indicates the efficiency with which the customer uses the electricity provided. Hydro‑Québec encourages its customers to maintain a power factor of at least 90% or 95%, depending on their rate.

Real power

Amount of electricity consumed in a useful manner to operate equipment, such as a motor or a heating or lighting system. Real power is expressed in kilowatts (kW).

Separate metering

Method of measuring energy consumed with a separate meter for each residential or commercial unit in a building.

Summer period

Period from April 1 through November 30, inclusive.

System access charge

A set amount, expressed in dollars per month or cents per day depending on the rate, to be paid for the electricity service itself.

The expression “fixed charge” has been replaced by “system access charge” as of April 1, 2019.

Voltage

Difference in electrical level between two points, expressed in volts (V).

Winter period

Period from December 1 through March 31 of the next year, inclusive.

Consumption period

Period during which electricity is delivered to the customer and which extends between the two dates used by Hydro-Québec for calculation of the bill.

Maximum power demand

Maximum power measured during a consumption period. It is the higher of the following two values: real power in kilowatts (kW), or a percentage (90% for domestic rates and small- and medium-power rates, or 95% for large-power rates) of the apparent power in kilovoltamperes (kVA).

Contract power

Minimum demand that a large-power industrial rate customer (Rate L) agrees to pay and that Hydro‑Québec must be ready to supply at any time in response to the customer’s demand.

Real power

Amount of electricity consumed in a useful manner to operate equipment, such as a motor or a heating or lighting system. Real power is expressed in kilowatts (kW).

Power

Total amount of electricity supplied at a given time. Expressed in kilowatts (kW), power is the combined effect of voltage, expressed in kilovolts (kV), and current, expressed in amperes (A).

Voltage

Difference in electrical level between two points, expressed in volts (V).

Energy

Power used by electrical equipment over a given period of time. Expressed in kilowatthours (kWh), energy is calculated as power, expressed in kilowatts (kW), multiplied by the time during which the power is used, expressed in hours (h).

The formula for energy is as follows: energy (in kilowatthours) is equal to power (in kilowatts) multiplied by duration of use (in hours).

Apparent power

Amount of electricity that Hydro-Québec supplies to a customer, expressed in kilovoltamperes (kVA). When it is used, apparent power breaks down into real power (kW), which runs devices, and reactive power (kVAR), which produces magnetic fields and which is not useful power for the customer.