Record profits for Hydro-Québec second year in a row

Record profits for Hydro-Québec second year in a row

For many residents of Park-Extension the cold weather meant a deep hole in their pocket. But for Hydro-Québec revenues have never been this high. A very cold January and soaring energy prices helped the state-owned company rake in a record $4.55 billion profit in 2022.

The amount of these net revenues is up $993 million compared to last year. The dividend paid to the Quebec government, its sole shareholder, amounts to $3.4 billion for the fiscal year that has just ended. This is the largest amount in the history of Hydro-Québec.

Hydro took advantage of the war in Ukraine and the resulting rise in energy prices to electrify its sales abroad. Export value is up 60% from 2021, and now totals $3 billion. The volume of exports remained at a level comparable to that of 2021, i.e. at 35.6 terawatt-hours. In contrast, the kilowatt-hour sold for 5¢ in the market in 2021, while in 2022 it sold for 8.2¢.

Senior management speaks of “the best financial performance in its history”. This performance thus doubles a fiscal year of 2021 which had already shattered profitability records at Hydro-Québec.

In the Quebec market, electricity sales reached $13 billion, or $912 million more than in 2021.

Quebecers have never consumed so much electricity, notes Hydro-Québec. For good reason, the month of January 2022 was the “most rigorous” start to the year since 2004. The commercial, institutional and small industrial sectors were also energy-intensive. The price of aluminum also boosted electricity sales by $211 million.

A few flats threw red ink in the Hydro-Québec spreadsheet. The spring 2022 Derecho knocked out half a million customers of electricity. The bill to reconnect everyone — $126 million — is the highest bill Hydro-Québec has had to pay since the ice storm for such bad weather. The purchase of electricity during peak periods forced the Crown Corporation to buy $2.8 billion worth of watts, an increase of $665 million compared to 2021. The cold and the rise in the price of electricity energy on the markets explain this hefty bill just as much.

Investments have not faltered, however. Nearly $4.3 billion was invested in all regions of Quebec, including $3 billion solely for the “sustainability” of infrastructures. By comparison, the investment program had totaled $4.2 billion in 2021, and $3.4 billion a year earlier.

The high-voltage line that will link Micoua substation, on the North Shore, to Saguenay substation, in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, monopolizes a large portion of these investments. Hydro-Québec’s largest project of the past decade, the Romaine complex, was completed in 2022 with the commissioning of the last turbine-generator unit last September.