Hydro-Québec fined $127K for transmission line project infractions

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Hydro-Québec has been fined for changes made during its 120kilovolt transmission line project, after the utility developed work areas and paths, including embankments around watercourses, and in wetlands such as peat bogs, without ministerial authorization. 

After being found guilty of three violations of the Environmental Quality Act during the construction of the transmission line, Hydro-Québec was fined $60,000 and must reimburse applicable fees that bring the total to $127,362. 

Several substations and supply lines that are part of the Laurentides’ regional transmission system have reached capacity, and the new line will support growth. According to Hydro-Québec, the annual growth of electricity demand in the region is 2.8%, twice the provincial average. 

Hydro-Québec, a government-owned corporation whose sole shareholder is the Québec government, meets its financing needs through the bond market. 

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The Ministry of the Environment, Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks announced in a statement that it undertook more than 76 interventions throughout the transmission project from December 2017 to August 2019. These included actions such as inspections, verifications, and drone flights over the project area between the Grand-Brûlé substation in Mont-Tremblant and the municipality of Saint-Sauveur, in the Laurentians. 

In total, 22 notices of non-compliance under the Environmental Quality Act were sent to Hydro-Québec, as well as two project contractors. Two administrative monetary penalties in the amounts of $5,000 and $10,000 were also imposed on Hydro-Québec for breaches of the Environmental Quality Act. 

The ministry said that on February 12, 2019, it also served an order on Hydro-Québec to stop discharges of sediment into wetlands and bodies of water likely to be affected by the project. The ministry also instructed the utility to implement appropriate control measures in the territory covered by the construction site.  

Hydro-Québec pleaded not guilty to the charges laid in February 2023. 

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