Updates from May, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:45 on 2023-05-13 Permalink | Reply  

    I felt a slight presage of doom at recent news items saying Pierre Fitzgibbon – wearing his energy minister hat – was displeased at how we use electricity and begging us to stop. Now I can see why: at this weekend’s CAQ conference, François Legault is talking about rethinking residential rates and you can bet your last kilowatt this won’t be in the direction of giving the consumer a break. Legault is talking about sobriété énergétique, while he schemes to sell more Quebec electricity to Americans.

    I’m not a big fan of the Journal’s editorial cartoonist Ygreck, but I did have to laugh at this one.

    Have to add two recent CAQ stories: Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette appoints a friend to be a judge and finance minister Eric Girard appoints a friend to the Loto-Quebec board. Wondering whether the CAQ is feeling a cool breeze, and handing out lagniappes to cronies while they can.

    • denpanosekai 08:47 on 2023-05-14 Permalink

      Quick question about the caricature. I typically start my dishwasher around midnight thanks to the delay feature. It’s mainly so we don’t hear the noise while we listen to low-volume TV while the kids are asleep. Does it really make a difference on the overall energy consumption? I’m going to start the dishwasher that day either way, I’m just postponing off “peak hours” because of personal reasons. I’m not getting any better rates on my end.

    • Kate 09:05 on 2023-05-14 Permalink

      Hydro has a winter program that rewards customers for limiting their power usage during certain periods on the coldest days. They send out an email a day in advance and if you cut your usage – mostly heating and anything with a motor in it – you get a rebate at the end of the season.

      (Most often it’s 6 to 9 am and sometimes 4 to 8 pm. But the catch is that your reduction is rated against what you normally use, so if you’re already turning the heat down overnight and you don’t get up early, your 6 to 9 am rebate won’t add up to much.)

      So I assume it offers some benefit to the grid not to draw power when everyone else is getting ready for work, or coming home and doing household chores and cooking dinner. I don’t think they’d be pushing this if it didn’t.

    • jeather 10:04 on 2023-05-14 Permalink

      I don’t use that system — I use about 600/year, it’s not worth it — but I have friends who do and they save quite a lot with that system. But that’s the difference between solo in a condo and a family of four in a semi-detached.

    • Kate 19:30 on 2023-05-14 Permalink

      I just checked the website and I saved slightly less than $20 last winter, which doesn’t really make up for the discomfort and inconvenience. In previous winters I’ve saved quite a lot more.

    • Nicholas 11:54 on 2023-05-15 Permalink

      There are two winter systems. One, the winter credit system you describe, gives you a credit for reducing power during peak demand compared to your “normal” amount. The other, Flex D, lowers your rate all winter long by about 30%, but increases it about 600% during those peak periods (the times you mention, up to 100 hours a year; it was around 50 this winter). So with the second system you could pay more if you don’t reduce consumption during peak, but could save a fair bit, maybe 20-25%, during the winter.

      The advantage of this is reducing costs to build extra transmission and generation capacity. Winter peaks draw the most power to the system, which means building extra power plants and lines for just a few dozen hours a year, or buying power from neighbouring states or provinces at very high rates (when they also have peak demand). Also, when buying from neighbouring states, this is often natural gas or even coal power, and besides the carbon emissions, that pollution will also sometimes drift towards us..

      Second, it’s good for us to reduce our power, so we can sell more elsewhere. This reduces the amount of carbon burned in New England and New York, and it also makes more money (since Quebec rates are much lower than US rates, especially in winter), and those profits go to the Quebec state. If Hydro-Quebec wasn’t a crown corporation, then you could argue this is gouging and profits, but the profits go to us. Raising rates will incentivize us to reduce usage (it does work), and all the profit goes back to us (plus extra profit selling to the US). We could then use that money to help lower-income people dealing with higher rates (from the money they pay in extra rates, but also the money from higher-income people). (Not saying the CAQ will do that, but they, or a future government, could.) And this would eliminate the hurt of higher rates, but since the cash could be paid regardless of consumption (say, raising the solidarity tax credit), people would still have an incentive to economize. (There is the issue of landlords not wanting to invest in efficiency when tenants pay the rent, but this could be fixed by making all energy use in rentals be paid 50/50 by the landlord and tenant, so the former has an incentive to retrofit to increase energy efficiency and the latter has an incentive to use less energy.)

      I do worry these changes may be done in a way that will hurt vulnerable people, but it doesn’t have to, and if done right it’s good for the planet and good for Quebec (our) finances.

  • Kate 20:33 on 2023-05-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Work on the city’s two composting centres, held up for ten months, is to resume soon now that the city has struck a deal with the very expensive outfit that’s building them.

    • Kate 17:19 on 2023-05-13 Permalink | Reply  

      With people already complaining about the noise of the REM, still only doing test runs, CDPQ Infra is going to do noise testing in Griffintown, the Point and on Nuns’ Island.

      I don’t imagine they’ll come back with anything other than “It’s not so bad” but we’ll see.

      • shawn 17:30 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

        This is going to impact so many people if it’s really that crazy loud. And it sounds like it is. Here’s one of the stories from a couple of weeks ago: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/rem-noise-testing-1.6826746

      • CE 17:34 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

        I was in Griffintown the other day and they had REM trains passing by every couple minutes. They’re much louder than I expected.

      • Thomas 17:40 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

        As a REM booster, I have to admit that I was in Griffintown this morning and saw a train go by and it was louder than I expected. I don’t know if it was “too loud”, but certainly louder than we’re used to with our fancy, chic, French, rubber-tired metro.

      • shawn 18:07 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

        As a former DDO resident I’m thinking about all the people who live along the Two Mountains rail line. I understand the REM is elevated even there, and with a much greater frequency than people are used to, even during the height of the shared use by CN freight and commuter.

      • qatzelok 13:12 on 2023-05-14 Permalink

        As medium and high density construction rises along the REM, the noise will be somewhat mitigated.

        Empty lots and single-family housing don’t do much to muffle noise coming from an elevated track.

      • shawn 19:29 on 2023-05-14 Permalink

        There’s all these podcasts about the REM, too, I see: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJ7ZzojPlv5DXTGUFpR__gX6c8t6_iOvy

    • Kate 14:56 on 2023-05-13 Permalink | Reply  

      La Presse celebrates Mothers’ Day weekend with two grim stories of mothers, one with a drug addict son, the other murdered by a son, both of these young men having exhibited signs of extreme mental illness but unable to find help.

      • Kate 12:39 on 2023-05-13 Permalink | Reply  

        There are four posts of lieutenant investigator in the Montreal fire department, and all four are vacant after retirements. The union says this lack of personnel will mean delays for building owners needing official reports, but the city says it will all be looked after.

        • Kate 10:29 on 2023-05-13 Permalink | Reply  

          Some of the city’s blue collar workers want a probe into racial bias in their own union. It’s only the bigger union that can put the newly elected union management under trusteeship and launch an investigation.

          • Kate 09:04 on 2023-05-13 Permalink | Reply  

            The city has chosen a developer for the first moves on the Hippodrome site. The borough mayor of the area, Gracia Kasoki Katahwa, wants to see a tram on the site to connect the area to Namur and de la Savane metro stations.

            • Nicholas 10:19 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

              When they said 250-300 units, did they mean for the whole site? That’s the same density as the detached single family homes in Hampstead across the tracks. This site is 1 km from a metro. Even with much higher density, a tram doesn’t make sense for such a short distance alone, when most people will just walk, or bike if safe. A bus would do just fine. You could run a tram all the way along Jean Talon from the Hippodrome to the Blue Line or Jean Talon metro, but with the rail line just parallel, makes more sense to use that right of way for rail service with local stops one day. But if we don’t have a tram on CDN or Park, we’re not getting one here.

            • Kate 10:47 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

              No, that number can’t be the whole site, it would be for a small part of it. The city knows there’s room for thousands of units on that piece of land.

            • DeWolf 10:55 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

              I believe the whole site is meant to have 7,500 units.

            • Kevin 10:55 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

              It is just the first development. The plan is still for 6,000 units.

            • shawn 11:11 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

              Yes, this is just the first developer named. They are working by parcels of land, I think. This piece from May 2 has some additional details https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/grand-montreal/2023-05-02/developpement-des-terrains/l-opposition-s-inquiete-pour-l-hippodrome.php

            • shawn 11:19 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

              They are not a developer in the sense that they’re builders but if you Google the non-profit “Espace La Traversée” they have been involved in a number of projects in Montreal…

            • Blork 15:38 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

              The idea of a tram seems weird. While (up to) 1km can be a long walk, especially around there where it’s all parking lots and autoroute between the site and the Metro (grim; downright nast in winter), it doesn’t seem long enough to warrant the cost and infrastructure needed for a tram.

              Unless… they built a tram that ran from the Blue Bonnets site along Jean-Talon all the way to the Jean-Talon Market. Now that would be fantastic!

            • Kate 15:43 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

              shawn: you’re right, I should not have written “developer” but not quite sure what the proper word is. Organizer?

            • shawn 16:01 on 2023-05-13 Permalink

              No, I was correcting myself! I don’t know what to call them either because yeah they’re not property developers in the traditional sense. Sounds like a great organization.

              I mean, the bigger story is despite Montreal having this real estate boom the city hasn’t been able to attract much attention to the site. Maybe now that they have made this big announcement about social housing we’ll see more traditional developers come in? It’s a tricky area, with the rail tracks to the west…

            • shawn 18:58 on 2023-05-14 Permalink

              I haven’t done it but if any of you budding urban developers want to answer a Canada Lands survey about what to do with the Wellington Basin, here you go: https://engage.clc-sic.ca/wellington-basin?preview=true&tool=survey_tool&tool_id=survey#tool_tab

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