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CAQ tables bill calling for Hydro-Québec to reimburse customers for overbilling

The Coalition Avenir Québec is calling for Hydro-Québec to pay back customers who have been overcharged.
The Coalition Avenir Québec is calling for Hydro-Québec to pay back customers who have been overcharged. Navneet Pall/Global News

Hydro-Québec may have to reimburse customers across the province for overbilling, as the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government has tabled a bill aimed at forcing the reimbursement.

Quebec Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonatan Julien tabled the bill on Wednesday.

READ MORE: CAQ government will table bill to make Hydro-Québec reimburse customers for overbilling

The estimate is that the public utility company has overcharged customers by $1.5 billion.

“Unless otherwise provided, the prices of those rates will be adjusted for the four years following the year in which they are set,” the bill states.

Quebec Premier François Legault severely criticized the Liberal government for not reimbursing Quebecers while they were in power.

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WATCH: Opposition parties cry foul over CAQ’s handling of overcharges

Quebecers want Hydro-Québec’s extra profits back
Quebecers want Hydro-Québec’s extra profits back

Last March, he came under fire in the National Assembly, and his government was accused of hypocrisy for not addressing the issue.

“I understand people are frustrated and they want money back so I’ve asked Hydro-Québec to make an effort,” said Legault on Tuesday.

Renaud Brossard, Quebec director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, applauded the province’s move.

READ MORE: CAQ government accused of hypocrisy for refusing to reimburse Hydro-Québec overbilling

In May, the federation delivered a petition, which garnered 75,000 signatures, asking Legault to return the money to customers.

“This is incredible news for Quebec consumers, who have been asking for this for a long time,” said Brossard.

WATCH: Quebecers want Hydro-Québec’s extra profits back

Quebecers want Hydro-Québec’s extra profits back
Quebecers want Hydro-Québec’s extra profits back

Under the bill, Quebecers would see a rate reduction on their electricity bills beginning in 2020, he added.

“I know we would all love to get a cheque from the government saying: ‘Here’s the money back,’” he said.

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“It’s not going to be the case, but people will see it on their hydro bills.”

READ MORE: Government of Quebec announces subsidies for electric charging stations

Brossard notes Hydro-Québec rates will then be frozen and subjected only to inflation, which will result in lower fees for customers.

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Who’s responsible for the inadequate heating in an NDG apartment buildings?
Who’s responsible for the inadequate heating in an NDG apartment buildings?

— with files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise.

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