Frequently asked questions about changing your address online.

What should I do if I own a rental property and do not want to be responsible for the electricity bill between rentals?

If you don’t want to be responsible for the electricity bill for a dwelling between two rentals, you must use the Manage Rental Units management tool for rental unit owners and managers. You can find out who is responsible for the electricity bill—the owner or the tenant—or update this information anytime, with just a few clicks.

I can’t log into my Customer Space. Why is that?

From the login page, click on Forgotten your access code to recover your username or on Forgotten your password to reset your password. You will need the e-mail address you gave us for your customer profile.

If you are still having trouble connecting, or if the e-mail address you are using is no longer valid, please contact our technical support at 1 888 858-7927 or by Facebook Messenger.

I tried to use the Change address online service but the system can’t find my new address. What do I need to do?

Make sure you have only entered the “street number” without the street name or the apartment number in the “Building number” box on the form. Then check the postal code on the Canada Post Web site to make sure it corresponds to the address. If you are still experiencing difficulties, please contact our customer services.

Is it possible to change the date on which I will leave my current address or my arrival date at my new address?

If your plans change, be sure to inform us of your new moving-in or moving-out date.

It’s easy to do from your Customer Space by selecting your arrival or departure date.

Frequently asked questions about changing your address online.

I want to remove the name of a contract holder but my address will remain the same. What do I need to do?

In the menu on the left, under Moving, select Remove address in order to remove the name of one of the contract holders.

Important: At the first step, select “No, at least one of the contract holders will stay at this address.”

You will then be able to select the name of the person who is moving out and specify the date on which his or her responsibility will end. However, if there are several contract holders and you want to remove more than one, you will need to contact customer services.

I want to add the name of a new contract holder on my invoice but we are not moving. What do I need to do?

To add another contract holder, you will need to terminate the current contract and create a new one.

  • There is no charge if you make your request online using Hydro‑Québec’s self-service tool
  • If you make your request through a Hydro‑Québec customer service representative, you will be charged a $25 fee (plus taxes)

In the menu on the left, under Moving, select Remove address to terminate the current contract. Then select Add address to create a new group of electricity contract holders and specify the date. Please note that the new contract holders must provide their social insurance number.

I am moving to a new address but I will be temporarily responsible for the electricity bill at my current address. Can I deal with this online?

If, for instance, you are buying a house and you are responsible for the electricity bill at that location as of today, and you will be terminating your responsibility at your former address at a later date. No fees will be charged if you notify us of the details of your move using the Change address self-service tool.

Why is the time between the billing date and the payment deadline 21 days?

Québec public service companies require bill payment 12 to 30 days from the billing date. Hydro‑Québec is therefore about average, with a due date 21 days after the billing date.

The 21-day deadline has remained unchanged since 1987. With the creation of the Régie de l’énergie in 1996, Hydro‑Québec indicated that it wished to maintain this bill payment deadline, which the Régie approved. It is still in effect and is presented in section 4.2.2 of the current Conditions of Service.

If you receive your bill by regular mail, the delivery time is included in that period. If you sign up for Pre-authorized Debit and Online Billing, you can reduce the delivery time while doing your part to protect the environment.

Can billing periods be at set dates?

No, bills are issued according to a pre-determined annual billing schedule that takes into account meter-reading dates and business days. Your next scheduled billing date is available in your Customer Space. If you don’t already have a Customer Space, now’s the time to create it!

Is it possible to choose the due date of my payment?

No, it is not possible to choose the due date of your payment.

How can I get a copy of my bill?

To save time, you can go directly to your Customer Space to change your address and print a copy of your bill. Bills are archived for two years if you are signed up for Online Billing. If you don’t already have a Customer Space, now’s the time to create it!

You can also contact customer services and we will send you a copy of your bill.

How can I receive my bill by e-mail?

We don’t send bills by e-mail, but if you sign up for Online Billing in your Customer Space, you’ll receive an e-mail with the amount due and payment due date. You can also consult your bill in your Customer Space.

You can also contact customer services and we will sign you up.

Why is my bill higher this winter?

Bills are usually higher in winter than the rest of the year.

A number of factors affect the amount of your electricity bill, such as the outdoor temperature, your home’s characteristics, the number of people in your household, your appliances and your lifestyle.

A good way to avoid having higher bills in winter is to sign up for the Equalized Payments Plan (EPP). With the EPP, we estimate your annual electricity cost based on your past consumption and spread it out over 12 equal monthly installments. That way, you pay the same amount every month, which makes budgeting easier.

Why are fees for meter-reading billed every month when the meter is read only once a year?

This fee structure was approved by the Régie de l’énergie. Annual meter-reading costs are spread out over 12 months, even though non-communicating meters may not be read once a month.

Is it possible to pay the same amount every month for a one-year period?

Yes, you can pay the same amount every month if you sign up for the Equalized Payments Plan in your Customer Space, subject to certain eligibility conditions.

We estimate the cost of your annual electricity consumption and spread it out over 12 equal monthly installments. You’ll pay the same amount each month, which will make budgeting easier.

If you don’t have a Customer Space, you can also contact customer services.

I receive a bill each month because I’m signed up for the Equalized Payments Plan (EPP). Why is my consumption only indicated every two months?

Despite the installation of new communicating meters, Hydro‑Québec’s billing cycle is currently based on a reading every two months.

But you can view your monthly, daily and even hourly consumption in your Customer Space with the tool My Consumption Profile.

See My Consumption Profile

Is it possible to pay my bill by credit card?

Hydro‑Québec does not accept this type of payment because of the fees charged by credit card companies. Such fees would have an impact on the rates that all customers pay.

I’ll be leaving on vacation soon and I’d like to know the amount of my next bill so I can pay it in advance.

We can’t tell you the amount of your next bill until we get the meter-reading.

However, to find out the date of your next bill, you can go to your Customer Space. If you haven’t created a Customer Space, you can call our customer service before your departure.

To make your life easier, we suggest you sign up for Online Billing. You’ll receive an e-mail telling you the amount to be paid and the due date. You’ll be on top of things, wherever you are!

To simplify your life even further, you can sign up for Pre-Authorized Debit so that the amount on your bill is automatically debited from your bank account on the due date.

Nothing is displayed when I click on the link to see my bill. I can’t display my bill in PDF format. What should I do?

If you cannot see your bill, please contact our technical support team.

With Online Billing, can I keep getting my bills by mail?

Residential customers (Rate D) cannot continue to receive their bills by regular mail. To assist in their accounting operations, business customers (Rate G, G9, M or DM) can continue to receive printed bills along with their online bills by simply selecting the Receive bills by mail option.

If I sign up for Online Billing, how do I pay my bill?

You have a choice of four ways to pay:

  • Pre-authorized Debit—The amount to be paid is automatically debited from your bank account on the due date
  • Your financial institution’s Internet banking service
  • At an ATM or by telephone, if you have added Hydro‑Québec a biller at your financial institution
  • Hydro‑Québec’s Online Payment service—Make payments from your Customer Space

In fact, the only methods of payment that don’t work with Online Billing are those that require a printed payment stub.

Can I pay my online bill at an ATM?

Yes, provided that your financial institution offers biller registration. Simply add Hydro‑Québec as a biller, with your account number, and you’ll be able to make payments without a stub.

I’m already signed up for Online Billing. Can I sign up for the Equalized Payments Plan (EPP)?

Yes. You can sign up, subject to certain eligibility conditions, for the EPP from your Customer Space or by calling the toll-free customer services number, 1 888 385-7252.

I’ve opted for the Equalized Payments Plan (EPP). Can I keep using it if I sign up for Online Billing?

Yes. Signing up for Online Billing will not affect the services you already have, like the EPP or Pre-authorized Debit.

How much does it cost to use Online Billing?

Nothing. Hydro‑Québec provides this service free of charge.

Can I keep my online bills?

Yes. Your bills are automatically archived for two years and you can view them from your Customer Space. You can also save them on your computer or print them out and file them, just like any other PDF document.

How long will my online bills be available in my Customer Space?

Your bills will be available in your Customer Space for two years. If you wish to keep them longer, you can save them on your computer or print them out and file them, just like any other PDF document.

What happens if I move?

Just notify us of your change of address, and your Customer Space will automatically be updated. You’ll receive, as usual, an e-mail message informing you that your bill is ready and waiting. The final invoice for your old address will also be available there.

How long will it take to receive my first online bill after I sign up?

As soon as a bill is issued, Hydro‑Québec will send you an e-mail notification, telling you the amount due, the balance and the due date. The e-mail will include a link to your Customer Space, where you can view your bill.

Can I cancel Online Billing from my Customer Space?

Yes. If you do, you’ll receive your future bills by regular mail.

If I am responsible for several contracts, can I have only some of them displayed in my Customer Space?

Yes, if you are a business customer. Simply ask us to make the change in one of the following ways:

  • Send us an e-mail
  • Contact your representative
  • Call customer services
    • Small Power (Rate G and billing under $100,000 a year)—1 877 956-5696
    • Medium Power (Rate G9, M or DM or Rate G and billing over $100,000 a year)—1 800 463-9900

Note, however, that you cannot change the list of accounts for which you hold a proxy. Only accounts listed on your proxy form can be displayed in your Customer Space.

Once I sign up for Online Payment, how long will it be before I can start submitting payment orders?

You can start submitting payment orders as soon as you sign up. You can even pay your most recent bill this way, if you like.

Can I submit payment orders in advance?

Yes. You can schedule payments up to six months in advance.

Can I submit one or more payment orders and pay an amount of my choosing on each contract?

Yes. You can decide how much to pay on each contract. Unless you notify us otherwise, please note that each payment will be applied against the account in this order:

  1. Deposit
  2. Charge for work for reconnection
  3. Other charges (administration fees, for example) and electricity consumption, in the order in which they were incurred.

This priority applies, no matter what your method of payment.

I receive confirmation when I submit a payment order?

Yes. You will receive a confirmation number for each payment order. You can display a detailed list of your payment orders from your Customer Space, which indicates whether each order is pending, completed or refused. You can also modify a payment order that has not yet been processed.

Can I sign up for Online Payment without Online Billing?

Yes, but there are many advantages to signing up for Online Billing.

How much does it cost to use Online Payment?

Nothing. Hydro‑Québec provides this service free of charge. However, some financial institutions charge a service fee for debits.

How can I know if my financial institution has refused a payment that I ordered?

The word “Refused” will appear in red on your list of payments, and your account balance will be adjusted accordingly. Note, however, that it takes a few days for your financial institution to process your payment order and accept or refuse it.

I’m already signed up for the Pre-authorized Debit service. Can I keep using it if I sign up for Online Billing?

Yes. The amount to be paid is still automatically debited from your bank account on the due date.

Can I make changes to my bank account information online?

Yes, you can do it in your secure Customer Space.

Can I choose the debit date?

No. With Pre-authorized Debit, all bill payments are debited from your bank account on the due date.

Can I switch from Pre-authorized Debit to Online Payment?

Yes, but you must call us to cancel your Pre-authorized Debit service before signing up for Online Payment in your Customer Space.

How much does it cost to use Pre-authorized Debit?

Nothing. Hydro‑Québec provides this service free of charge. However, some financial institutions charge a service fee for debits.

Where does the information on my electricity use and the outdoor temperature come from?

Electricity use

If you have a communicating meter, it automatically records and sends us your electricity use every day. To determine your daily use, we take the last number received each day and subtract the last number from the day before. The result of this calculation is obtained overnight, meaning that each morning you can check how much electricity you used the previous day.

If you have a non-communicating meter, the meter is read at least once a year. To establish your electricity use during this period, we take the latest reading and subtract the previous reading. We then calculate your average daily consumption to determine your monthly electricity use.

Outside temperature

The mean outdoor temperature charts are based on data supplied daily by the weather station nearest you. These charts can help you understand how temperature affects your electricity use. If your home is far from the station, the outside temperature in your area may differ from the one shown in the chart.

Dual-energy (Rate DT) customers

Please note that the mean outdoor temperature is not the temperature measured by the sensor for Rate DT billing. The outdoor temperature may have dropped below your rate’s threshold (-12°C or -15°C, depending on where you live) throughout the day, even if the mean temperature shown is -10°C. To learn more, see our detailed information on Rate DT.

I just moved. Why don’t I have access to this service?

You need to wait 10 days from the start of your electricty service contract to be able to view your Consumption Profile. We need those 10 days to verify the information related to your change of address. The 10-day period starts on the day you inform us of your move, should you do so after you move.

Why doesn’t yesterday’s data appear in my Consumption Profile?

Due to telecommunications issues, our systems were unable to read the meter remotely. Our monitoring teams are aware of each of these situations and work to resolve them as soon as possible. However, your meter is in good working order, measuring and correctly recording the actual consumption data.

What happens if the meter cannot be read for one or more days?

As soon as we are able to read the meter again, we will subtract the result of the previous reading to calculate your electricity use and determine an average for your consumption, based on the number of missing days. These days will be represented graphically as striped lines, with a legend explaining the situation.

Example:
Meter-reading on February 23 at 23:59: 31,592.58
Meter-reading on February 24 at 23:59: unavailable
Meter-reading on February 25 at 23:59: 31,690.10

Calculating average consumption
February 25 reading: 31,690.10
Minus February 23 reading: 31,592.58
Consumption over two days: 97.52 kWh

Your Consumption Profile will thus show 48.76 kWh for February 24, and 48.76 kWh for February 25 (97.52 kWh divided by 2). The 97.52 kWh total is the actual consumption of the two days, which will be shown as an average consumption (distributed evenly over the two days).

Why is electricity use per day provided, whereas usage by the hour for a given day is either not provided or incomplete?

Daily data comes from a cumulative reading of the meter, taken at the end of each day. Based on 365 readings per year, we can establish your bill for a given period through a process of subtraction. These readings appear on your bill.

Hourly electricity use, on the other hand, is calculated through our advanced metering infrastructure. It amounts to a reading of the amount of energy used over a given interval (15 minutes) — for example, 2 kWh consumed between 6:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (A single meter generates more than 35,000 readings per year!) Telecommunications issues can affect the ability of our systems to record the data from all intervals. Our monitoring teams are aware of each of these situations and work to improve the availability of electricity consumption data. However, your meter is in good working order and correctly records your actual electricity use at home.

There’s a difference between the electricity consumption used to calculate my bill and the usage I see in my daily history. Why is this?

Calculating your electricity consumption for billing purposes does not include decimals (and fractions of kWh consumed are not reflected on your bill), even though our metering infrastructure measures them. For example, if the meter stops at 1,596.86 kWh, the figure used for this billing period will be 1,596. The remaining 0.86 kWh will be taken into account in the calculation of the next bill.

However, decimals are used in your Consumption Profile’s daily history. You might therefore notice a slight discrepancy (+/- 1 kWh) between the two figures.

If your meter has a billing multiplier, then the maximum difference corresponds to the value of the multiplier, since your electricity consumption will be multiplied by this figure. The potential difference is the same, whether for a single day, 30 days or 60 days.

The consumption forecast for the current period doesn’t seem accurate.

The forecast is established in dollars and kWh, based on the consumption history of your service address and your area’s normal temperatures during the period. If these variables change, the forecast may no longer reflect reality.

Forecasts are updated daily based on real consumption. Your forecast could increase if you were to use more electricity than usual—for example, if temperatures were colder than normal and you use electric heating. By the same token, it could also diminish if you were to use less electricity. One thing is certain: the forecast will be more accurate at the end of a given period than at the start.

If you’ve been living at your current address for less than a year, the forecast may be less accurate due to the consumption patterns of the previous occupants, which may differ from yours.

The service address history requires at least 11 months of data input for this feature to appear in your Consumption Profile.

The download includes temperature and reading codes. What do these mean?

R: Real
M: Average
E: Estimate
N/A: Not available
P: Partial
Non CNG: non-communicating meter (no daily readings) OR Average

How do time intervals work for customers who are billed for power demand?

Consumption for a 15-minute interval—for example, between 6:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.—will be indicated at the start of the interval, i.e. at 6:15 p.m.

General questions

What is the Dare to Compare service?

Dare to Compare is a free service to allow you to see at a glance if your household uses more or less electricity than the average household like yours.

How does it work?

First you answer 11 questions (online questionnaire). Your answers allow us to match you with a comparison group formed of similar households.

Then you get your result, which includes the following:

  • A dial showing your electricity use as compared to that of the comparison group average (note that your result is based on your actual electricity use, not on an estimate)
  • The difference between your consumption and the average in both kilowatthours and dollars
  • The percentage of households that use less electricity than yours
  • Tips on conserving electricity

What’s it for?

The Dare to Compare service is meant to help you understand your electricity consumption and compare it with that of similar households. It is part of Hydro‑Québec’s energy efficiency strategy, which aims to support customers’ efforts to save electricity.

Does the service compare the consumption of fuel?

Dare to Compare only looks at electricity data. Consumption of any other type of energy (such as gas or wood) is not compared. Other energy sources used are taken into consideration in determining the comparison group, however.

For example, if you don’t have electric heating, your household is compared with other households with fuel-fired heating systems.

What’s the difference between Dare to Compare and the Home Diagnostic?

Dare to Compare

  • This service compares household electricity use with that of a similar group (type of dwelling, number of occupants, etc.) that uses electricity for similar purposes (heating, hot water, etc.)
  • Tips on saving energy are provided along with comparison result
  • Only 11 questions (to determine comparison group).

Home Diagnostic

  • This service provides a personalized analysis of energy consumption by use and source
  • Very detailed report, including personalized recommendations, potential savings, estimated costs of improvements and payback period
  • Much more detailed questionnaire (43 to 127 questions, depending on dwelling type and energy uses).

Who’s it for?

If you’re a residential customer* who pays Rate D or DT,** you can use Dare to Compare, no matter whether you’re a homeowner or a tenant. You can compare your principal residence, secondary residence or cottage. The rate you pay is indicated on your bill.

You can use Dare to Compare even if you’ve already done the Home Diagnostic.

To make the comparison valid and useful, you must meet the following conditions:

  • The electricity bill must be in your name, your contract must be current and you must live at the service address.
  • You must pay Rate D or DT.
  • You must have a consumption profile dating back at least 280 days in a row (just over nine months), in order for the analysis period to be valid.
  • The consumption on your last bill in the analysis period must not have been estimated (E).
  • The consumption in the billing period before the analysis period must not have been estimated (E).
  • Your building must be exclusively residential.
  • If the rate applied to your electricity service contract has changed, you must have a consumption history of at least 420 days at your present rate.

* A lack of comparable data makes it impossible to produce Dare to Compare results for residents of Schefferville and Nunavik or for municipal grid customers. Hydro‑Québec does offer other energy efficiency programs for those customers, however. Please ask your municipal utility about programs in your community.

** Does not apply to contracts at Rate DM.

Questionnaire

Will my answers be shared with anyone outside Hydro‑Québec?

No. The information you provide will be kept entirely confidential, as required by the Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information (R.S.Q., c. A-2.1). Only authorized Hydro‑Québec employees will have access to it.

I live in a one-storey single-family dwelling between a duplex and a triplex. Is it considered a detached house or a row house attached on both sides?

If there is no space between your house and your next-door neighbors, you live in a row house attached on both sides. In the questionnaire, a detached house is one with land between it and the next house on either side. The same applies to duplexes and triplexes.

We live in a bungalow, but we converted the basement to an apartment that we rent out to students. Is that considered a duplex?

Yes. If the basement has been converted into an apartment with its own address and electricity meter, your house consists of two units and is therefore a duplex.

I live on the third floor of a triplex, which has been subdivided into two flats. The building contains four units. Is it still a triplex or is it a building with 4–8 units?

The building has had four addresses since it was subdivided, and it is very likely that each unit has its own electricity meter. You should answer that it is a building with 4–8 units. A triplex always has three units (three addresses), whether they are on two or three floors. For example, a two-storey building with one downstairs flat and two upstairs is considered a triplex.

At the beginning of the year, there were four of us (my husband, our two children and me) living in our house. Then our third child was born in February and my mother came to stay for six months to help out. It’s the end of July and I’m answering the Dare to Compare questionnaire. How many occupants should I put down?

To determine the number of occupants, first look at the analysis period. If the past 12 months go from last August 1 to this July 31, there are four occupants for the first 6 months and six for the last 6 months (February to July, inclusive). The two extra occupants only occupied the house for just under half the year, so that is the equivalent to one occupant for the whole year. You should answer five.

Occupants Time Occupants for year
(occupants x time)
4 1 year 4
2 ½ year 1
Response 5

My two children live with me every second week. My new partner has sole custody of her daughter. Does that make three or five occupants?

Actually, that makes four. If your partner and her daughter have lived with you for the past 12 months (analysis period), you should answer four occupants. You + your partner + her daughter make three. Your two children together count as just one occupant because they only live with you half the time.

Occupants Time Occupants for year
(occupants x time)
3 1 year 3
2 Half time = ½ year 1
Response 4

I live in an 800–sq. ft. loft. Is it considered a single room?

In open-plan homes like lofts, there are usually different areas for different purposes, such as a kitchen, dining room, living room and bedroom. In such a case, you can count four heated rooms.

There is no average or maximum size that defines a room. A home may have one 80–sq. ft. room adjoining another measuring 350 sq. ft. They are considered to be two separate rooms.

I have a condo. Should I count common spaces or areas as heated rooms?

No. If you don’t pay directly for heating them, don’t count them. The cost of heating common areas is usually built into condo fees.

I’m answering the questions about our country house, which we only occupy on weekends and a few weeks a year. In winter, the heating is turned down during the week. Should I reduce the number of occupants to reflect the fact that we’re not there a lot?

No. The number of occupants should be the number of people who are there when the house is occupied. But remember to take this into account when reading your result. Your consumption will probably be lower than the comparison group average, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the house is energy-efficient. You should still follow the recommendations on improving its energy efficiency.

How can I tell whether my electricity bill covers the cost of hot water?

If you’re a tenant, check your lease to see whether hot water is included in your rent. If so, your landlord pays for it and your electricity bill doesn’t cover it.

Also, if you have a gas water heater, then your electricity bill doesn’t cover hot water.

I live in an apartment building with a pool. Should I count that?

No. As a rule, either the building owner pays pool operating costs, or else they are included in condo fees or rent. Your electricity bill does not cover them.

Questions about Dare to Compare results

How is the comparison done?

  • Your profile is determined on the basis of your answers to the Dare to Compare questionnaire concerning specific characteristics.
  • Then you’re matched with a comparison group formed of similar households.
  • Your consumption is calculated for a given analysis period.
  • The average electricity consumption is calculated for the comparison group and the same period, then adjusted according to the temperatures in your region.
  • Your consumption and costs are compared with the average.

Characteristics used to determine your profile:

  • Dwelling type: detached house, semidetached house, row house, duplex, triplex, etc.
  • Number of heated rooms
  • Energy used for heating and hot water
  • Number of occupants
  • Energy used to heat pool, if applicable

Combinations of these characteristics are used to form over 1,000 comparison groups. This makes the comparison average more accurate and appropriate than the average of all Residential Customers would be. In other words, we compare apples with apples.

Your total electricity consumption comes from your billing data, which you can see by looking at your consumption profile in your Customer Space.

Is the geographic region also taken into account?

Yes. The electricity use of your comparison group is adjusted according to the temperatures recorded in your region during the analysis period. A customer who lives in Abitibi doesn’t have the same heating needs as one living in downtown Montréal, and that’s why we take it into account. To make this adjustment, we use a mathematical formula based on degree-days in your region during the analysis period. It’s as if all the households in your comparison group had lived in your region during the analysis period!

Do you take air-conditioning into account?

There is no question on air-conditioning because it is not a statistically significant characteristic. If you have an air conditioner, the amount of electricity it uses is included in your total electricity consumption. The amount of electricity used for air-conditioning is included in the comparison group’s total electricity consumption, as well. To get an idea of how much electricity you use for air-conditioning, you can use our online calculation tool. Even better, fill in the Home Diagnostic to get a precise assessment of how much electricity you consume for air-conditioning. Heavy use could explain higher-than-average electricity consumption.

My result indicates that I use less electricity than the comparison group. Does that mean I don’t need to do anything?

No, but it does mean you’re on the right track! The tips you get with your report will help you improve your energy efficiency if you haven’t already followed them.

Don’t forget that your comparison group’s average consumption may change. Your position with respect to the group may also change. You can track your result using the Dare to Compare link in your Customer Space every time you receive an electricity bill based on a meter-reading. We always show the most up-to-date result.

My result shows that my electricity use is higher than average. I don’t understand why.

If the characteristics of your household are similar to those of the comparison group, the difference is probably due to your energy use habits and your home’s energy efficiency.

To get a clearer idea of suitable energy efficiency measures to take and how they could affect your electricity use (in costs and kilowatthours), you should use the free Home Diagnostic.

On the other hand, your home may have some special feature that sets it apart from the comparison group. For example, a house with 12 heated rooms is compared with houses that have 7 or more rooms. Five rooms can make a huge difference to energy consumption.

I’ve applied the energy efficiency measures recommended by the Home Diagnostic, but my Dare to Compare result indicates that my household is energy-hungry. How can that be?

Here are a few possible reasons:

  • Maybe your improvements are too recent to be reflected in the electricity consumption analyzed by Dare to Compare. For example, if you changed heating features or habits, you won’t see any difference until the analysis period includes a heating season. To track your changes and those in the comparison group, use the Dare to Compare link in your Customer Space regularly.
  • If your Dare to Compare answers truly reflect your household, you should look at how you’re different from the comparison group and how that could have a negative impact on your result. For example, a house with 12 heated rooms is compared with houses that have 7 or more rooms. Five rooms can make a huge difference to energy consumption.
  • If you have a heated pool, there’s a good chance that your electricity use is higher than the comparison group average, because the group includes households with unheated pools (or pools heated without electricity). To get a clearer idea of suitable energy efficiency measures to take and how they could affect your electricity use (in costs and kilowatthours), you should reread your personalized Home Diagnostic report. It gives a breakdown by type of use and tells you how much energy you use to heat your pool.

If my result is higher than average, will my bill go up?

No. The Dare to Compare report has no effect on rates or billing. It’s a free service that helps you become more aware of how you use electricity by comparing your consumption with that of similar households and offers guidance on saving electricity.

What else can I do?

If I move, can I answer the Dare to Compare questionnaire again?

Yes, but you’ll have to wait a while to accumulate the consumption data needed for the comparison (at least 280 days in a row).

My situation has changed. Can I change the answers I submitted?

Yes, you can change your answers. Just go to your Customer Space and click on the Dare to Compare link. But remember, your answers should still reflect your situation during most of the analysis period. If your situation has just changed recently, don’t change your answers yet. Wait a while, so the new situation is reflected in your result.

I’ve followed some of the Dare to Compare energy efficiency tips. When will I see a difference on my electricity bill?

You may start to see a difference within a few months, or it may take longer, depending on what measures you’ve taken and what season they apply to. For example, if the changes involve heating, you won’t see any difference until the analysis period includes a heating season.

How can I track my Dare to Compare results?

Just go to your Customer Space and click on the Dare to Compare link. Your result and that of your comparison group are updated every billing period (every two months, if the meter is read) or whenever you change your answers.

How can I get advice on improving my result?

Your Dare to Compare result comes with tips. Plus, if you haven’t done so yet, it would be a good idea to fill in the Home Diagnostic which generates an even more personalized report, including recommendations, potential savings, estimated costs of improvements and payback period.

You should also regularly check out the Energy Efficiency section of our Web site. You’ll find tips and advice on being energy wise.

I’ve done the Home Diagnostic and received my report. Do I have to answer the Dare to Compare questionnaire, as well, if I want to compare my electricity use to that of similar households?

No. The online version of the Home Diagnostic automatically transfers your answers to the Dare to Compare questionnaire. If you go to the Dare to Compare result from your Customer Space, you’ll see that the questionnaire has already been filled in and that the results are displayed. Take the time to review the answers, though, just in case your situation has changed since you filled in the Home Diagnostic questionnaire.

You can also access your personalized Home Diagnostic recommendations report online. You’ll find the same information as before, but enhanced by the result of the comparison with similar households. If your situation has changed since the last time you filled in the questionnaire, update your answers.

Miniglossary of energy terms

Energy and power

In the context of electricity consumption, energy is the power consumed within a given period.

Power is expressed in watts (W), and energy is expressed in watthours (Wh). One kilowatt equals a thousand watts, and one kilowatthour equals a thousand kilowatthours.

Watt and watthour

The watt (W) is a unit of measure of power, and the watthour (Wh) is a unit of measure of energy. One kilowatt equals a thousand watts, and one kilowatthour equals a thousand kilowatthours.

For example, the power of a lightbulb is measured in watts (40 W, 60 W, etc.), but the energy it uses is measured in watthours or, more often, kilowatthours (kWh).

So a 60-W bulb that is on for an hour uses 60 Wh. If it is on for 1,000 hours, it uses 1,000 times more: 60,000 Wh, or 60 kwh, of electricity.

Your electricity bill always shows your consumption in kilowatthours (kWh).

Degree-day

A degree-day represents a mean daily temperature one degree Celsius below a given baseline outdoor temperature. After analyzing load and temperature data, Hydro‑Québec set the baseline temperature at 15°C. Degree-days are an indicator of heat requirements.

For example, a mean temperature of 12°C amounts to 3 degree-days. A mean overnight temperature of 18°C amounts to 0 degree-days.

Meters

Billing

Why should I pay fees if I opt to have a non-communicating meter installed?

Unlike communicating meters, which are part of Hydro‑Québec’s basic service and can be read remotely for billing purposes, non-communicating meters must be read manually. From now on, only customers who have opted for non-communicating meters will have their meters read manually.

The costs associated with the choice of a non-communicating meter are based on the user-pay principle: it would be unfair to charge these costs to all of Hydro‑Québec’s customers.

It is important to note that customers can opt for the free basic service and have their non-communicating meter replaced with a communicating meter at any time.

Can communicating meters cause over-billing?

No. A Hydro‑Québec meter—be it electromechanical, radiofrequency or communicating—is never responsible for any changes in a customer’s bill.

All of our meters are approved by Measurement Canada. This independent organization imposes strict rules on companies to guarantee the precision of the measurement systems they use. Hydro‑Québec is required to install meters that will enable it to meet those standards, for the entire duration of the meters’ service life. The communicating meters Hydro‑Québec installs are therefore safe and reliable, and they record customers’ actual consumption.

Changes in your electricity bill can however be caused by variations in temperature and changes in your consumption habits.

It also bears noting that when a meter is replaced, an actual consumption reading is taken. If a customer did not grant Hydro‑Québec access to the meter for an extended period of time and did not fill in their meter-reading card, their billing is based on estimated consumption. It is therefore possible that a customer paid less than what was actually consumed, leading to an adjustment on a future electricity bill.

Are customers charged for the meters’ own energy consumption?

No, the meters don’t record the amount of electricity they use. In addition, the consumption of the meter components (metering card, communications card, etc.) is not included in the customer’s consumption and is not billed to the customer.

Why does the communicating meter installed at my home sometimes display “0 kwh”?

A communicating meter displays various pieces of information in sequence. If it displays “0 kwh” when electricity is being used, the display is generally a reading of the energy being fed into the Hydro‑Québec grid.

Though the vast majority of Hydro‑Québec’s residential customers do not generate electricity, some are self-generators, meaning they produce electricity to meet some or all of their needs using equipment that they own and run. They can avail themselves of the net metering option, through which Hydro‑Québec purchases any excess energy that the customer produces and feeds it to the system. Since most customers are not self-generators, it is normal that this display shows “0 kwh”.

Understanding meter displays

Do communicating meters affect Hydro‑Québec’s debt collection procedures?

No. Communicating meters have absolutely no impact on our collections procedure or on the decision of whether or not to disconnect a customer’s service. This procedure is well documented and approved by the Régie de l’énergie and involves sending several notices and reminders before proceeding with a service interruption, which is used only when all other steps have been exhausted. Service interruption is always a last resort. Hydro‑Québec’s objective is to get the customer to pay the balance due and not to disconnect service.

Hydro‑Québec encourages customers with good payment habits to call and make a payment arrangement if they are having difficulties paying their bills. Low-income customers can enter into a payment arrangement adapted to their situation at any time.

It is true it is simpler to interrupt or restore service with communicating meters, as the procedure no longer requires an employee to go on-site. However, the recovery procedure remains the same, whether a customer has a communicating meter or not. Interrupting service is always a last resort.

Electricity is one of the only services billed to customers after consumption. In the interest of fairness, Hydro‑Québec must ask all customers to pay for the electricity used. Otherwise, these amounts increase Hydro‑Québec’s bad debt expenses, which has an impact on the rates paid by all customers. It is important to note that close to 90% of customers pay their bills on or before the due date. In addition, electricity to the main residence of customers with electric heating is never cut during the winter period, between December 1 and March 31.

Installation

How many communicating meters does Hydro‑Québec have in its meter fleet?

Hydro‑Québec has installed over 3.9 million communicating meters to date, which corresponds to 98% of its fleet.

I just moved to an apartment with a non-communicating meter. What should I do if I want to have a communicating meter installed?

You don’t have to do anything. In fact, when a customer notifies us that they are moving out from an address that has a non-communicating meter, Hydro‑Québec automatically plans to replace the non-communicating meter with a communicating meter, free of charge. In addition to the free installation, no monthly metering charges will be billed to you, as your consumption data will be remotely and automatically transmitted to Hydro‑Québec.

I’m a condo owner or tenant and I want to have a non-communicating meter installed. Can I submit a request for myself and my neighbors as well?

To request the installation of a non-communicating meter for your condo or apartment, you have to be the person responsible for the electricity account at that address. You also must meet all the other prerequisite conditions [PDF 60 Kb] for this type of meter.

There is an installation charge for replacing a meter with a non-communicating meter and a monthly charge for manual meter-reading.

If your neighbors have electricity accounts in their own names, the decision to opt for a non-communicating meter or not is up to them.

The relations between co-owners or between tenants and landlords have nothing to do with Hydro‑Québec. As the Régie de l’énergie concluded in its decision, “the conditions of service cannot govern the contractual relations between a landlord and tenants or between co-owners. The solution to this problem is to be found in private law, not the conditions of service.”

Can I opt for the installation of a non-communicating meter if I have an electrical installation rated 400 A or less?

Customers with a single-phase electrical installation rated 400 A or less can opt for the installation of a non-communicating meter provided all prerequisite conditions for this type of meter have been met.

See Section 3.2.1 of the Conditions of Service – Request for a non-communicating meter. [PDF 4.55 Mb]

If you do opt for the installation of a non-communicating meter, you will not have access to your actual daily electricity use data in the My Consumption Profile section, and you will therefore not be able to better manage your consumption, which the communicating meter makes possible for you.

Will my power be cut during my meter replacement?

Yes, but only for a few minutes, while the old meter is removed and the new one is put in. Following this short service interruption, you’ll have to reset the time on your various appliances and electronics.

I have a backup power supply to prevent the failure of medical devices or other equipment. Will replacing the meter interfere with it in any way?

No. Replacing the meter will not interfere with your backup power supply, which can supply power while the installer is removing the old meter and putting in the new one. It only takes a few minutes. However, we recommend that you check that your backup power supply is working properly.

Can replacing a meter cause power surges that can damage electrical devices?

Taking out or putting in a meter does not cause a power surge. The power is cut only briefly so the meter can be replaced safely. It’s a simple operation, equivalent to switching a light on or off, for instance.

However, damage may occur in two exceptional situations independent of Hydro‑Québec activities:

  • if there is a problem with the customer’s electrical installation
  • if the customer’s electrical devices are more sensitive or are already susceptible at the time the meter is replaced

It is therefore important to have your meter socket, or base, checked regularly.

How do I know if my electrical installation is unsafe or non-compliant?

Here are some examples of electrical installations that do not meet the minimum clearance or height requirements, or are unsafe.

Meter embedded into the cladding of a house
Bush blocking access to the meter
Window frame in front of the meter, which requires at least 1 m clearance from any temporary or permanent obstruction
Roof collapsed over the meter
Meter placed above an excavation
What does Hydro‑Québec do with all the meters it replaces?

A supplier who is required to follow Hydro‑Québec’s strict procedure is responsible for recovering and recycling the materials in the old meters.

This process includes disassembling the meters so that each component can be recovered or recycled. All meters are recycled using this procedure.

Radiofrequencies

Are communicating meters safe?

Communicating meters meet all applicable standards issued by the competent regulatory bodies, including Health Canada, an organization that sets safety limits for radiofrequency exposure.

The table below compares the radiofrequency emission levels of various common devices against those of a communicating meter, using data provided by the Centre de Recherche Industrielle du Québec (CRIQ). In the case of the communicating meter, exposure levels were measured from a distance of one metre.

Radiofrequency exposure levels
Image showing the average level of exposure to radio frequencies of different devices

Key facts to remember:

  • Radiofrequency (RF) emission levels measured one metre away from a communicating meter are well below Health Canada limits (55,000 times lower).
  • Exposure to radiofrequency emissions one metre away from a communicating meter is minimal compared to that from other devices.
What is a radiofrequency meter?

A radiofrequency meter is an electronic meter that can be read from a distance, either by a meter reader carrying a handheld computer or by a communications network such as the one set up by Hydro‑Québec. The radiofrequency technology used in the meters is not new and is widely used in other devices, such as baby monitors and cordless phones. Hydro‑Québec has three main types of radiofrequency meters:

  1. 458 MHz meters

    The 458 MHz meter transmits only when the meter reader is nearby. The meter reader’s handheld computer sends a signal to wake up the meter, and the meter responds by sending its consumption data. Once the meter reader is back at the office, the data is transmitted to Hydro‑Québec’s billing system.

    There are very few meters of this type left in Hydro‑Québec’s fleet, and they haven’t been manufactured for many years now.

  2. 900 MHz meters

    The 900 MHz meter transmits periodically, whether or not there is a meter reader nearby. When close to the meter, the meter reader collects data using a handheld computer. Once the meter reader is back at the office, the data is transmitted to Hydro‑Québec’s billing system.

  3. Communicating meters

    The communicating meter records customers’ electricity consumption and allows Hydro‑Québec to read the data remotely without the need for a meter reader. Communicating meters emit radiofrequency energy intermittently several times a day, for a few milliseconds each time. Generally, total emission time is less than 90 seconds a day. Communicating meters are the current industry standard.

How many times a day does the meter emit RF energy? For a total of how long?

To transmit the recorded data, communicating meters emit radiofrequency energy intermittently several times a day, for a few milliseconds each time. Generally, total emission time is less than 90 seconds a day.

It’s important to know that the radiofrequency exposure levels at a distance of one metre from the communicating meter are approximately 55,000 times lower than the threshold recommended by Health Canada.

Health Canada says that “in cases where multiple smart meters are installed together, as in some townhouses or high-rise buildings, the total exposure levels from multiple smart meters will still be far below Health Canada’s RF energy exposure limits, due to the infrequent nature of transmissions.”

In December 2011, after a technical survey of communicating meters, Health Canada concluded that “exposure to RF energy from smart meters does not pose a public health risk.”

Does the radiofrequency energy emitted by communicating meters installed together in some buildings have a combined effect?

No. Health Canada says that “in cases where multiple smart meters are installed together, as in some townhouses or high-rise buildings, the total exposure levels from multiple smart meters will still be far below Health Canada’s RF energy exposure limits, due to the infrequent nature of transmissions.”

Can the radiofrequency emissions from communicating meters interfere with the operation of pacemakers or implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs)?

No. Tests conducted by Hydro‑Québec and Medtronic, the world’s largest supplier of pacemakers, in conjunction with the Montreal Heart Institute, have confirmed that the radiofrequency emissions from communicating meters do not interfere with the operation of these devices.

In fact, no interference was observed when the Medtronic pacemakers and ICDs were placed as close as possible to communicating meters manufactured by Landis+Gyr, Hydro‑Québec’s main supplier, even though the meters had been intentionally modified to emit radiofrequencies at an abnormally high rate.

Liability

Who owns the meter?

The meter belongs to Hydro‑Québec. However, the socket into which the meter is inserted is the customer’s responsibility.

Technology

What is the difference between the different generations of meters?

First generation – Electromechanical meters

The electromechanical meters installed by Hydro‑Québec for decades are the oldest and, over the years, they have been replaced by electronic models. They have a spinning disc and several dials. They aren’t being made anymore.

Reading manual

Second generation – Radiofrequency meters (458 MHz and 900 MHz)

Hydro‑Québec started installing these meters in the mid-1990s. With them, meter readers can obtain electricity use data by means of a special device without entering the customer’s premises.

Reading: remote by a meter reader

Third generation – Communicating meters

Combined with an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), communicating meters record electricity use data and transmit it remotely to Hydro‑Québec’s systems.

Reading: remote without a meter reader

Reading manual

Reading: remote by a meter reader

Reading: remote without a meter reader

Are the meters accurate?

Yes. The meters comply with the standards issued by competent regulatory bodies, including Measurement Canada, which sets the standards of precision for measuring instruments, such as meters, and oversees their application.

Hydro‑Québec is going to replace my meter soon, but it’s still working fine. Can I keep the one I already have?

No. Although the old meters are still reliable, Hydro‑Québec’s meters must be replaced before the end of their service life. Measurement Canada imposes strict rules on companies to guarantee the precision of the measurement systems they use. Hydro‑Québec is therefore required to install meters that will enable it to meet those standards, for the duration of the meters’ service life.

What data does the communicating meter send to Hydro‑Québec?

Hydro‑Québec only collects electricity use data for billing purposes. Customers’ personal information, such as name, address and telephone number, is not sent through the various components of the network.

Hydro‑Québec uses electricity use data from meters to improve service, especially during outages.

What is the power, in watts, of the communicating meters?

The power of communicating meters is 425 mW (milliwatts), or 0.425 W, which is equivalent to that of an LED Christmas light.

Can the meter cause interference with my home electronics?

Any device that operates on the 902-to-928–MHz band and uses digital transmission technologies must meet Industry Canada standard CNR-210, so it is designed to neither cause nor suffer from interference.

Some older devices, however, use the older analogue technology, which is being phased out. Although they are compliant with the abovementioned standard, they may, in rare circumstances, suffer from interference caused by other devices operating in the same frequency band.

What is the frequency band of the communicating meters?

The communicating meters emit radiofrequencies in the 902-to-928–MHz band, the same one used by baby monitors.

What is the certification process for meters and telecommunications equipment?

Certification testing for meters complies with the strictest international standards and falls into three categories: electromagnetic compatibility testing, climate testing and mechanical testing.

All telecommunications hardware undergoes thorough climate testing.

The meters are therefore compliant with Measurement Canada requirements and Hydro‑Québec certification standards.

Could communicating meters be adversely affected by winter temperatures?

No. Hydro‑Québec is required to comply with Measurement Canada standards respecting the quality of electricity meters that operate throughout the year. As part of the certification process, the communicating meters undergo a test involving sudden, extreme temperature changes. This test is used to confirm their ability to withstand Québec’s harsh winters.

What is the service life of a communicating meter?

Communicating meters have a service life of 15 years. As is the case with the old meters, whether electromechanical or electronic, their actual service life could be longer; sampling tests conducted in a few years should tell us. Given the changes made to Measurement Canada standards, the service life of a meter installed today could be as long as 30 years.

Meter-reading

NB: If a communicating meter is installed, you don’t need to read it, because the electricity-use data is automatically transmitted to Hydro‑Québec every day.

Why did I receive a meter-reading card?

Because the meter reader was unable to access the meter. This card shows you how to take a reading and send us the information. Your bill can be established according to your actual consumption.

How does Hydro‑Québec inform me of the dates to be respected if I want to send the meter-reading myself?

Once a year, you will receive a letter indicating the dates on which you can send us the meter-reading. This letter also tells you how to send us the information. By transmitting your meter-reading on the scheduled dates, your bill can reflect your actual consumption.

How soon do I have to submit my meter-reading?

You can submit your reading as soon as you receive the card or according to the dates stated in the letter you have received. It’s important to do so promptly, to make sure your next bill reflects your actual consumption.

What happens if I receive a meter-reading card or letter, but I forget to submit my meter-reading?

If we don’t receive your meter-reading, your next bill will be based on your estimated consumption. Your bill won’t be adjusted until the meter reader is able to access the meter, so that will be at least two months.

What’s the advantage of submitting my meter-reading online?

By submitting your meter-reading online at hydroquebec.com/meter_reading, you’ll prevent any delays in processing. Then your next bill will reflect the amount of electricity you’ve actually used.

Do I have to submit my meter-reading online?

No. You can give us your meter-reading by phone. Follow the instructions on the card left behind by the meter reader or in the meter-reading letter you receive once a year.