Smart-meter mess: ‘Hydro-Quebec will ruin me,’ says client
Anne Caroline Desplanques, QMI Agency
MONTREAL – Quebec’s smart-meter mess continues, as another livid client says his electricity bill has doubled since the digital unit was installed.
Adberrahim El Masnaoui says he’ll boycott Hydro-Quebec over the whopping bill.
“I won’t pay for anything I haven’t used,” he said. “If I let them, they’ll ruin me, they’ll put my family in the street.”
El Masnaoui has been paying an average of $3,000 a year for electricity since 2007 but the utility has demanded more than double since it replaced his analog meter with a digital unit in 2013.
His summer power bill has swelled even more, from less than $300 every two months between June and September to more than $1,000 in the same period.
“I can’t afford to pay it,” he said. “They can cut the electricity if they want. We’ll live by candlelight if we have to.”
Last month QMI Agency reported that a mistake on a Hydro-Quebec smart meter led to an 86-year-old man having to pay his neighbour’s electricity bill, as well as his own, for six months.
QMI reported in December that one Hydro-Quebec worker faces disciplinary measures for alledgedly breaking into a home north of Montreal to install a meter.
Two Hydro-Quebec executives in charge of the contentious smart-meter program resigned in January along with CEO Thierry Vandal.
The $1-billion smart-meter file has sparked boycotts and petitions over the safety of the devices and inexplicable price increases.
A Hydro-Quebec spokesperson insists the digital devices are “reliable.”
– with files from Brian Daly