Demand Response (DR) Option

More than $2M in credits on electricity bills since 2016-2017

A successful project outcome

Aware of the challenges posed by the energy transition, many organizations have implemented innovative initiatives to reduce their electricity use during peak demand events. In addition to inspiring others to do the same, energy‑saving initiatives are eligible for significant credits, all while helping drive the decarbonization process.

For the CISSS du Bas‑Saint‑Laurent, Hydro‑Québec’s Demand Response (DR) Option has been a catalyst for change. Moreover, this commitment is at the root of an important cultural shift linking energy performance with power management. The result? The financial gains obtained by the health and social services center were reinvested to provide increased quality of care in the community.

CISSS du Bas‑Saint‑Laurent: a pioneer in energy efficiency

In 2015, the CISSS du Bas‑Saint‑Laurent was facing significant financial challenges due to a restructuring of the health care system. How could they reduce the operating costs for 42 buildings without compromising patient comfort? For this forward-thinking team, the answer was obvious: sign the Hôpital régional de Rimouski up for the DR Option. As the hospital is one of the largest buildings among its properties, there were many possibilities for automation.

At the end of the 2016‑2017 winter period, the CISSS du Bas‑Saint‑Laurent saw that the solution was certainly worthwhile! As a result, in 2022‑2023, nine out of its 42 buildings were signed up for the DR Option. Starting next year, another six will be added, which represents an additional phase-out of about 600 kW during peak periods. In concrete terms, the organization now enjoys greater flexibility to cope with budget restrictions and has obtained financial support to improve the performance of its facilities. A major energy transition is now underway, all while maximizing the comfort of the people receiving treatment.

To ensure a successful deployment, the organization:

  • established a regional team responsible for ensuring that equipment is functioning optimally;
  • used an alternative energy source during peak events;
  • reduced electricity demand, including putting humidifiers on standby and changing permissions at various cooling stages;
  • added four 80‑kW thermal accumulators at the Hôpital régional de Rimouski to better control energy use during peak periods.

With its adoption of an integrated vision of power management, the $350,000 in savings during the last winter season were a boon for the CISSS du Bas‑Saint‑Laurent. In addition, the savings generated allowed them to self‑finance the salaries of its technical services team.


Nearly $2 million in credits accumulated since enrolling

$350,000 in savings on its 2021‑2022 winter period bill

Enrolment of nine buildings in its real estate portfolio of 42 establishments in 2022‑2023

Curtailment of 5.5 MW during peak events in the past year

Average curtailment rate of 63%, the highest in Québec’s health sector

An institution proud to contribute to the energy transition

After such a resounding success, would it be possible to enrol all of its buildings in the DR Option? For Mathieu Leblanc, head of building performance in the technical services department, several issues stand out:

“Many smaller buildings do not have a control system or an alternative energy source, which is a real challenge. However, thanks to the gains made, we were able to make different improvements to optimize the energy efficiency of our facilities and call on various professional services firms to support us in our efforts.”

The CISSS du Bas‑Saint‑Laurent is now positioned as a leader in energy‑efficient performance and electrical power management within the health care network. This new culture undoubtedly serves the institution’s primary purpose: to provide quality care to the entire community.

“The DR Option motivates us to contribute to the overall vision for efficient and environmentally responsible energy management in Québec. It also allows us to support Hydro‑Québec in its efforts to become energy self‑sufficient. But to be truly successful, we need ambassadors. After that, the environmental and economic benefits become clear.”

— Dr Jean‑Christophe Carvalho, President and Chief Executive Officer, CISSS du Bas‑Saint‑Laurent

As a business partner, Hydro‑Québec participates in discussions, proposes solutions adapted to the health sector and contributes to the organization’s action plans, while maximizing the financial support available

About the CISSS du Bas‑Saint‑Laurent

The CISSS du Bas‑Saint‑Laurent serves eight regional county municipalities (MRCs), which include 114 cities and municipalities, 14 unorganized territories and two Indigenous reserves. It includes the MRCs of Kamouraska, Rivière-du-Loup, Témiscouata and Les Basques (western sector) as well as the MRCs of Rimouski‑Neigette, La Mitis, La Matapédia and La Matanie (eastern sector).

The institution has 42 owner facilities, 13 long-term care centers, a seniors’ home, 9 emergency departments, 56 community pharmacies, 11 family medicine groups, 48 medical clinics, 127 community organizations and 109 private seniors’ residences. It also hosts 345 acute care beds, the Maison de naissance Colette‑Julien and a university medical teaching establishment, including two university family medicine groups and a medical teaching site.

About efficient decarbonization

The vision of efficient decarbonization developed in collaboration with the Ministère de l’Environnement prioritizes the use of renewable energies and responsible energy use to reduce GHG emissions at the lowest cost to Québecers. It focuses on reducing energy consumption and implementing efficient and cutting-edge solutions, along with a complementary energy combination to manage the demand for electrical power during peak periods.

In a context of tighter energy balances where, on its own, electrifying the institutional sector would increase the need for power by 350 MW, close to the total capacity of the four generating stations in the Romaine complex, decarbonizing the economy calls for efficiency.

About the Demand Response (DR) Option

The DR Option is an integral part of Hydro-Québec’s efforts to meet the targets of the Mesures d’exemplarité de l’État [In french only] contained in the Government of Québec’s 2030 Plan for a Green Economy(2030 PGE).

The DR Option allows you to receive a credit on your bill in exchange for a reduction in energy consumption during winter peaks or when inclement weather causes damage to transmission lines and makes them temporarily out of service. Winter peaks happen between December 1 and March 31.

To do your part while saving money, you can register your company or organization in the DR Option. You will be notified by email before each peak event indicating the date and time the event will start and end. During this time, you must implement the required curtailment measures, either by reducing your power demand, shifting your electricity consumption to another time or using another source of energy. At the end of the winter period, you could be entitled to receive a credit based on the effective interruptible power, i.e., the average power reduction for all the peak demand events.

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Get a credit on your winter bill by reducing your power demand.

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