Hydro

 A detailed examination of Hydro-Québec’s planned major  electrical system upgrade

District 2 in Côte Saint-Luc will be part a major electrical system upgrade of the Hydro-Québec network. Work will occur between 2023 and 2026 and impact homes on Merrimac Road, Marc Chagall Avenue as well as Bialik High School

Hydro will be converting three 120-kV substations to 315 kV. This includes the Hampstead substation (in Côte Saint-Luc) and rebuilding the 120-kV Aqueduc-Saraguay  overhead transmission line at 315 kV over a span of 18 km between LaSalle and Saint-Laurent. Known as the Aqueduc-Saraguay project, the cost is estimated at over $500 million. The project involves replacing aging equipment, maintaining the system’s reliability, meeting future electricity needs and supporting economic development.

HyrdoTowerPic

 

Both  Hydro and Côte Saint-Luc did a study related to what the level of Electromagnetic fields (EMF) will be, that being  a combination of invisible electric and magnetic fields of force. They occur both naturally and due to human activity.  Hydro’s study showed that the EMF’s will be within the norms. Our investigation confirmed that. Councillor Steven Erdelyi, who co-chairs this committee with Councillor David Tordjman, told me: “On the positive side when you increase the voltage, you decrease the current. That means less magnetic field so it is actually safer for people.”  

There are valid reasons for this work. Despite the fact people are becoming more energy efficient, power consumption is up and more people are purchasing electric cars. In District 2 alone we just added two large Equinoxe towers. Not far off, the former Blue Bonnets Raceway will become the base to some 5,000 housing units.

A joint working committee of representatives from Hydro-Québec, the City of Côte Saint-Luc and a few members of the public started work January 27, 2020 to address public concerns about the Aqueduc-Saraguay project.   The committee’s mandate has been to review how Hydro-Québec can implement the project in Côte Saint-Luc while minimizing its impacts. For example, the committee is to assess how greenspaces can be enhanced.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact in terms of slowing down the process. We had two meetings in February and then had to wait until October before we convened again. Right now we must finalize with Hydro the precise trajectory of the new towers. There will be at least 12 towers constructed in Côte Saint-Luc and this entire project will take over a decade to complete. We also have questions about noise and public safety we need answered.

I asked two residents, Charles Guerin from the Meadows and Glenn J Nashen (on behalf of JPPS-Bialik) to be part of the committee. Hydro has been asked a lot of very detailed questions from the city and committee members. It is hoped these deliberations can be concluded in February or March because we as a city have not yet shared a comprehensive look at the project for the community at large.

In fact only last June Hydro stated: “By the end of the year, an information and consultation meeting will be held to present the project. The public will be invited to provide feedback and comments on the committee’s work and present other ideas of how the project could be improved.”

Again, none of us thought that we would still be dealing with the pandemic in 2021 at this emergency level.

Complicating matters further has been the launch on January 25 of a series of focus groups organized by Hydro. I was part of the first session. To me, this is an example of placing the cart before the horse. As the committee proceeds, residents who have no information on the actual project are suddenly being asked for their opinions to obtain a portrait of the usage of the transmission line right-of-way.    The objective is to collect the residents' ideas and concerns regarding the future right-of-way and its potential use.

I felt badly for the Hydro personnel and consultants who were asked to organize these sessions. They were there to talk about how to beautify greenspace near the new towers. Naturally, Meadows residents who were on the call wanted to know details. ”How big will the towers be? Has an environmental assessment been made?”  These are the type of questions residents had on their minds. But this was not the right table to ask them. This Hydro team wanted to know what residents would like the greenspace to look like.  These type of focus groups should have started first with experts detailing the main project, with this coming after.

THE RIGHT OF WAY

What is a right-of-way? It is a legal agreement that allows Hydro access to the property directly beneath and to either side of an electric power line. Also called an easement, the right-of-way allows them to enter the property at any time, to perform maintenance or repairs to their equipment.

Hydro officials say they want to develop the hydroelectric right-of-way that meets the needs of the community: community gardens, playgrounds, swings, landscaping, etc. Their goal is  to improve the environment and the quality of life of the people who own this right of way. In recent weeks I have been hearing from very confused constituents on Merrimac and Marc Chagall who want more information.  I communicated again with the committee chairs in the last few days and asked them to please do everything they can to move this process along.

Please understand. This is an island-wide project and it will go ahead, regardless of any protests. Hydro does not need our permission.

Another Hydro project which directly impacts the upgrading of wiring at the Meadows has been delayed for several years because it involves the exchange of certain servitudes. The Meadows did have some say in that matter, but keep in mind that the condo property is supported by very old equipment and we may pay the price for this.

UNDERGROUND VS. OVERHEAD

So When does Hydro opt for underground lines? Hydro responds as follows: “Whenever it’s impossible to build an overhead line because of insufficient space or an impassable obstacle such as a building.”

The cost for overhead lines, with a service life of 85 years, is $150 million. Hydro maintains it will have greater transmission capacity and a faster recovery from outages. An underground line, it points out, has a service life of 40 years, a lower transmission capacity and it is more complicated to maintain and repair. Oh yes, the cost is $440 million

Hydro-Québec’s transmission system, like all other transmission systems in the world, is mainly an overhead one. Out of 34,000 km of lines, they say only 200 km (0,7 percent) are underground, and those are mainly in downtown areas.

They give examples of the percentage of underground power lines with a voltage of 315 kV and higher in some other places: 0.1 percent in Canada; 0.4 percent in the United States; 0.4 percent in Germany; and 0.8 percent in Japan

Since underground lines are more expensive, Hydro says they’re used only in places where an overhead line can’t be built, either for lack of space, as in downtown Montreal, or because of an impassable obstacle like a building.

The costs of an underground line are determined by a set of variables that have to be analyzed for each project. For this project, a 315-kV underground line would cost about $290 million more, nearly three times more than an overhead line.  

Since Hydro-Québec’s investment choices have a direct impact on electricity rates for all of its customers, the company says it has an obligation to choose the lowest-cost option.

Last but not least,  Hydro states, an overhead line can carry more electricity than an underground line.

Here is how Hydro sums up choosing the optimal course of action: they have a duty to submit the best possible project, one that is technically, economically, environmentally and socially sound and that benefits its customers; performs well from a technical perspective; can be carried out at the best possible cost; respects the environment; and  safeguards the public interest and that of its customers

Hydro maintains building a 315-kV overhead line is the best option. They also emphasize that an overhead line follows a single route.  An underground line could be completely different from that of the existing line. An overhead-underground junction substation might also have to be built for an underground line: for a 315-kV line, that would be quite sizable. Building an underground line would have some major impacts: laying two separate ducts (under the streets alongside the existing right-of-way). Undergrounding a transmission line is more complex and takes longer.

The consensus does seem to be that we might be better off health-wise with the overhead wires.

The latter is true. But these towers will not impact our entire city of 34,000 residents so we do not have strength in numbers. Nonetheless, via these focus groups it is hardly futile to go on record with our concerns.

Furthermore, we can continue to make the argument for underground wiring. But unless we as a city pay for the work, Hydro does not have to agree. Their strategy has been shared with you in detail up above. Our annual budget for the entire city is $75 million. Underground work would cost $440 million, so we can all do the arithmetic.

THE TOWERS

The towers presently contain an overhead transmission line operating at 120 kV. They will be dismantled and rebuilt at 315 kV. The exact route of the line is currently under study and the subject of consultations with the special committee.  I met via Zoom with Meadows residents for nearly an hour and a half and clearly everyone would to see the present-day large tower moved somewhere else, like behind the JPPS-Bialik field. Is that possible? It certainly will be raised at our special committee level.

HAMPSTEAD SUBSTATION

The Hampstead substation located behind Mount Sinai Hospital was built in 1955.   The electricity supplies residences, businesses and industrial customers in Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Montreal West Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Lachine via the distribution system. As part of the project, new 315-kV equipment will be installed at Hampstead substation.

 

HYDRO-QUÉBEC:  PROJET AQUEDUC-SARAGUAY (Source, Hydro-Québec)

Afin de répondre aux besoins croissants en électricité du secteur, Hydro-Québec investira plus de 500 M$ pour moderniser son réseau de transport dans l’axe nord-sud de l’île de Montréal, entre les arrondissements de Saint-Laurent et de LaSalle. Les équipements du réseau sont vieillissants, et doivent être remplacés.De plus, ce projet vise à améliorer la fiabilité de l’alimentation en électricité et la continuité du service à long terme pour tous les résidents de la région.

Hydro-Québec ajoutera environ 500 MW de puissance afin d’appuyer le développement économique et social dans les secteurs d’activité suivants :

  • Projets immobiliers, résidentiels et commerciaux ;
  • Projets de transport en commun (p. ex. station du Réseau express métropolitain (REM) et garages de la Société de transport de Montréal (STM) pour la recharge de bus électriques) ;
  • Projets de développement manufacturier ;
  • Centres de données et serres.

  500 M$ investis

  500 MW de puissance prévue

18 km de ligne de transport à convertir

3 postes à convertir

Modernisation du réseau électrique entre les postes de l’Aqueduc et de Saraguay

Le projet prévoit :

  • la reconstruction à 315 kV de la ligne de transport aérienne existante à 120 kV à sur 18 km entre Saint-Laurent et LaSalle. La ligne sera reconstruite dans l’emprise actuelle, mais dans le cadre des étapes suivantes, le tracé pourrait être optimisé pour en atténuer les impacts selon des critères techniques, économiques, environnementaux et sociaux.
  • la conversion de trois postes de transformation de 120 kV à 315 kV, soit les postes Rockfield (à Lachine), de Hampstead (à Côte Saint-Luc) et Laurent (à Saint-Laurent).

Hydro-Québec procède aussi à une étude préliminaire en vue de construire un nouveau poste dans le secteur de Dorval et la ligne d’alimentation associée.

Le projet se réalise dans une emprise de ligne en milieu urbain densément occupée à plusieurs endroits. Dans un souci d’harmoniser son projet avec la vision du développement de ses partenaires municipaux, Hydro-Québec mène une démarche afin de travailler en collaboration avec les villes et arrondissements, les organismes et les résidents concernés.

La ligne projetée sera construite dans une emprise de ligne existante où se trouve déjà une ligne aérienne de transport d'électricité à 120 kV.

Quand opte-t-on pour une ligne souterraine ?

Où il s'avère impossible de construire une ligne aérienne parce que l'espace est insuffisant ou parce que s'y trouve un obstacle infranchissable (p. ex. bâtiments, commerces)

LIGNE AÉRIENNE

  • Durée de vie : 85 ans
  • Capacité de transit supérieure
  • Rétablissement plus rapide en cas de panne

Coût

~150 M$*

LIGNE SOUTERRAINE

  • Durée de vie: 40 ans
  • Capacité de transit inférieure
  • Entretien et réparation plus complexes

Coût~ 440 M$*

 

Une ligne souterraine coûterait environ 290 M$ de plus qu'une ligne aérienne, ce qui aurait un impact sur les tarifs d’électricité pour tous les Québécois.

Ligne souterraine : mesure d’exception

  • Comme c’est le cas partout dans le monde, le réseau d’Hydro‑Québec est essentiellement aérien. Sur 34 000 km de lignes de transport, l’entreprise ne compte que 200 km, soit environ 0,7 %, de lignes souterraines, essentiellement dans les centres-villes.
  • Voici des exemples de pourcentage de lignes de transport à 315 kV et plus qui sont enfouies ailleurs :
    • 0,1 % au Canada
    • 0,4 % aux États-Unis
    • 0,4 % en Allemagne
    • 0,8 % au Japon
  • Étant donné son coût plus élevé, une ligne souterraine est envisagée seulement là où il est impossible de construire une ligne aérienne, soit parce que l’espace est insuffisant (par exemple au centre-ville de Montréal) ou parce qu’il y a un obstacle infranchissable (par exemple des bâtiments imposants).

Coûts, durée de vie et capacité de transit

  • Les coûts d’une ligne souterraine sont fonction d’un ensemble de variables qu’il faut analyser pour chacun des projets.
  • Dans ce cas-ci, les coûts paramétriques de la ligne souterraine à 315 kV seraient d’environ 290 M$ plus élevés, ce qui représente trois fois les coûts d’une ligne aérienne de la même capacité. La ligne aérienne devrait coûter quelque 150 M$ alors que la ligne souterraine coûterait approximativement 440 M$ en dollars courants de 2018.
  • Hydro‑Québec se doit de présenter l’option la moins coûteuse possible, puisque ses choix influent directement sur les tarifs d’électricité pour l’ensemble de la population québécoise.
  • La durée de vie d'une ligne aérienne est d’environ 85 ans tandis que celle d’une ligne souterraine est d’environ 40 ans. Puisqu’il faut que le réseau reste sous tension pendant la reconstruction, il faut prévoir repartir de zéro après 40 ans dans le cas d’une ligne souterraine. Les coûts paramétriques de la construction d’une ligne souterraine ne comprennent pas les coûts de reconstruction après 40 ans.
  • Enfin, une ligne aérienne peut faire transiter plus d’électricité qu’une ligne souterraine.

Hydro‑Québec a le devoir de présenter la meilleure option qui soit, sur les plans technique, économique, environnemental et social, et ce, pour le bénéfice de sa clientèle. Hydro‑Québec doit donc présenter un projet :

  • performant du point de vue technique ;
  • au meilleur coût possible ;
  • respectant l’environnement ;
  • en préservant l’intérêt du public et celui de la clientèle.
  • Le projet retenu constitue le point d’équilibre entre ces grands critères. Dans le cas présent, les études montrent que la construction d’une ligne aérienne à 315 kV constitue la meilleure option respectant ces critères.

Impacts et réparation

  • Si elle est aérienne, la ligne n’emprunte qu’un seul tracé. Si elle est souterraine, pour des raisons de fiabilité du réseau, il faut que les deux circuits qui la composent soient séparés donc, idéalement, qu’ils suivent des rues différentes. Ces tracés divergeraient complétement du tracé de la ligne existante.
  • Une ligne souterraine pourrait aussi nécessiter la construction de postes de liaison aérosouterraine : pour une ligne à 315 kV, il s’agit d’équipements imposants.
  • La construction d’une ligne souterraine comporterait des impacts importants : mise en place de deux canalisations distinctes (dans les rues qui longent l’emprise existante), en plus de baies de jonction à intervalles d’environ 500 à 800 m.
  • Les réparations d’une ligne souterraine sont plus complexes et les délais sont en conséquence plus longs.

 

 


Hydro-Québec work at the Meadows and Kildare/Sir Walter Scott corner

Hydro-Québec will carry out vegetation control work in the Meadows sector. The operations will not be as drastic as it was in the past. Having said this, it will create an impact nonetheless. The work will take place along the fence separating the school from the Meadows in order to clear the buckthorn that is growing uncontrollably and that is preventing other species to grow. It will also involve brush clearing vegetation at the base of the high voltage transmission tower at the far end of the  the grounds of The Meadows, as well as along the railroad tracks. The work will be done starting December 2 until December 6, 2019.

Letter were dropped off at homes. Copies are below.

Download Details on Hydro Work

Download Info-Travaux

In addition, as part of the reconstruction of the transmission line that was announced earlier this year (construction to start in 2023), Hydro-Québec intends to develop sustainable landscaping that is compatible with the power transmission system in The Meadows and Bialik school areas. Hydro-Québec aims to cooperate with local residents, condominium owners, and the City of Côte Saint-Luc to carry out this landscaping initiative.

On another front last August crews of Hydro-Quebec installed a temporary wooden structure to secure the underground vault at the intersection of Kildare and Sir Walter Scott. The plan was to come back at the end of next June (2020) to replace the concrete roof of the vault. Hydro just informed us that there is a transformer with an oil leak in this same underground vault. That means they need to replace the transformer as soon as possible. From December 4 to 10, crews will be on site to excavate the sidewalk, to remove the old concrete roof (of the vault) and to install a wooden gallery. In the evening of December 10 to 11, the transformer will be replaced. On December 13, crews will install finally a new concrete roof of the underground vault. The sidewalk will be rebuilt temporarily with asphalt until next summer where they would be back for a concrete reconstruction of the sidewalk. Signs will be installed to make the place safe for everyone. All work should be completed by December 20.

 


Hydro-Québec work at the Meadows and Kildare/Sir Walter Scott corner

Hydro-Québec will carry out vegetation control work in the Meadows sector. The operations will not be as drastic as it was in the past. Having said this, it will create an impact nonetheless. The work will take place along the fence separating the school from the Meadows in order to clear the buckthorn that is growing uncontrollably and that is preventing other species to grow. It will also involve brush clearing vegetation at the base of the pylons on the grounds of The Meadows as well as along the railroad tracks. The work will be done starting December 2 until December 6, 2019.

Letter were dropped off at homes. Copies are below.

Download Details on Hydro Work

Download Info-Travaux

In addition, as part of the reconstruction of the transmission line that was announced earlier this year (construction to start in 2023), Hydro-Québec intends to develop sustainable landscaping that is compatible with the power transmission system in The Meadows and Bialik school areas. Hydro-Québec aims to cooperate with local residents, condominium owners, and the City of Côte Saint-Luc to carry out this landscaping initiative.

On another front last August crews of Hydro-Quebec installed a temporary wooden structure to secure the underground vault at the intersection of Kildare and Sir Walter Scott. The plan was to come back at the end of next June (2020) to replace the concrete roof of the vault. Hydro just informed us that there is a transformer with an oil leak in this same underground vault. That means they need to replace the transformer as soon as possible. From December 4 to 10, crews will be on site to excavate the sidewalk, to remove the old concrete roof (of the vault) and to install a wooden gallery. In the evening of December 10 to 11, the transformer will be replaced. On December 13, crews will install finally a new concrete roof of the underground vault. The sidewalk will be rebuilt temporarily with asphalt until next summer where they would be back for a concrete reconstruction of the sidewalk. Signs will be installed to make the place safe for everyone. All work should be completed by December 20.


Urgent work will cause road disruptions on Marc Chagall Avenue and Kildare Road

Urgent work by Hydro-Québec and Bell Canada will cause significant inconvenience to motorists on Marc Chagall Avenue and Kildare Road near Cavendish this summer.

I met with some members  of our Urban Planning team today and the city has no choice but to issue the permits now as both Hydro and Bell insist the work cannot wait without potential negative repercussions for residents.

Hydro-Quebéc will be performing urgent work to demolish and rebuild their access point at the corner of Mackle and Marc Chagall. This work is necessary for the residents in the sector to have functional electricity and HQ is sending out letters to residents explaining the importance of this work. It will commence on June 25 and last until at least September 20. The timing could not be worse, with construction for Phase Two of the Equinoxe high rise buildings now at the cement pouring stage. That job won't conclude  until next June. We asked Hydro if there was any way to delay this work and they stated that residents could be at risk of major power outages .
 
Here is the signage plan.
Signalisation NRC
 
Urban Planning and Public Security will try to manage this the best possible way. More information on the rerouting of traffic will be forthcoming,
 
Meanwhile, Bell will be digging up Kildare (between Rembrandt and Cavendish) during weekends beginning soon to upgrade its network in the area. You may have noticed a lot of Bell repair trucks in the area in recent years. Traffic will be diverted into two lanes. It was timed to begin once school concluded at JPPS-Bialik.
 
 
 
 

 

 


Hydro-Québec to undertake electrical system upgrade in 2023 affecting CSL

Hydro-Québec, the Ville de Montréal, the boroughs concerned, as well as the municipalities of Montreal West, Côte Saint-Luc and Town of Mount Royal will work together to support greenery and active transportation initiatives in the transmission line right-of-way between the Aqueduc substation and Saraguay substation. This collaboration is part of a plan to upgrade the transmission system between LaSalle and Saint-Laurent. A green corridor may include a bike bath, pedestrian link, landscaping and recreational facilities.

The project provides for rebuilding the 120-kV Aqueduc-Saraguay overhead transmission line at 315 kV over a span of 18 km between LaSalle and Saint-Laurent ; converting three 120-kV substations to 315 kV—Rockfield substation (in Lachine), Hampstead substation (in Côte Saint-Luc) and Laurent substation (in Saint-Laurent).

HydroIn the coming weeks, Hydro-Québec will determine the details of the collaboration with each of its municipal partners. The public will be invited to take part in various information and consultation sessions over the next few months. Cooperation among the partners will promote biodiversity, connectivity and sustainable mobility, and improve community life for residents.

The Aqueduc-Saraguay project is estimated at over $500 million. The project involves replacing aging equipment, maintaining the system's reliability, meeting future electricity needs and supporting Montréal's economic development.

The project is in its initial stages, and the current plan is to build the transmission line in the existing right-of-way. However, the line route may be optimized at a later stage of the project to mitigate its impacts according to technical, economic, environmental and social criteria. The line and three substations will be commissioned progressively from 2023 to 2026.

"Our city is pleased to work proactively in collaboration with Hydro-Québec to optimize the project and enhancing the reliability of the electricity system," said Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. "The addition of greening initiatives is certainly one of our priorities. I have also asked Hydro-Québec to create a joint working committee to address the concerns of our residents. We are pleased that Hydro-Québec has agreed to this committee so that they will address our input and concerns. "

Info: www.hydroquebec.com/aqueduc-saraguay/en

 


Hydro-Québec begins felling trees on their servitudes

Hydro-Quebec has returned to Côte Saint-Luc to do another inventory of land where they have servitudes.

Hydro-Québec’s servitudes, or easements, include certain rights and restrictions:

  • The right to install, add, maintain and operate overhead and underground telecommunications and power distribution lines on the site of the servitude;
  • The right to authorize individuals, public utilities and municipalities to install, add and operate lines, cables, conduits, equipment and accessories on the site of the servitude, including underground and in the overhang;
  • The right to fell, prune, remove or destroy any type of vegetation (trees, shrubs, branches, roots) through any means and at any time;
  • The right to prune trees within four metres of lines, even if the trees are growing outside the site of the servitude;
  • The right to move about on foot or by vehicle on the site of the servitude and outside the servitude whenever necessary;
  • The prohibition against building or erecting a structure on the site of the servitude, including underground and in the overhang, except for a fence with a gate, an ornamental hedge or a paved driveway;
  • The prohibition against modifying the ground elevation.

Together with Hydro, Côte Saint-Luc Public Works Department Director of Operations John Monteiro always rings the doorbell first before going onto the resident's property, even though  Hydro legally has all rights to enter. They are very polite and the Forestry Technician explains why he is there, that he is doing an inventory of trees that are within the six-meter radius from the closest transmission line. Lignes-transport-emprise

John hands out his business card and the resident receives a letter like this.  It explains why Hydro must perform these important operations for safety measures.

On August 7 our Public Works Department advised me of the following:

  • Approximately  five locations were dealt with where some hedges at 15 feet tall will be pruned to eight feet two
  • Approximately  30 trees (only at some homes) are to be felled according to the criteria on  Kreigoff, Marc Chagall, Brandeis and  Merrimac to Rembrandt).
  • More work will be done this week on Rembrandt , Sabin, Holland and Wavell.

Nobody likes to see trees felled. Some residents have called to express their concerns, especially those who looked out at this beautiful landscape. If they do not own that land and it falls on a Hydro servitude legally there is not much they can do. Property owners  do have the option to request a change in servitude. The necessary information is here.

In the case of the Meadows I am not pleased at all that this work was done without any prior consultation by Hydro. There has already been a strong line of communications between Hydro and the Meadows board, especially lately due to an attempt by them to replace the grid. I, as the councillor, only learned about this after the work was done.  I do not fault our staff. I expect more from Hydro. Why the rush and did all of these trees really need to be cut down? Did they not learn from the vote last May not to allow them to proceed with certain work due to "a lack of consultation?"

Our Public Works Department states the following: " The only reason that Hydro  arrived in the city today, was that they are doing an inventory of possible problematic trees that could create an arc from the tree/bush to the transmission line. Only an inventory is being conducted. And only once the inventory has been completed, shall Hydro contact the city with a plan of action that will be suitable for all. Every resident that will be affected will also be contacted in advance with all pertinent information."

Here is a video from resident Charles Guerin as to how Hydro previously felled trees in an irresponsible manner at the Meadows:

 

 


Hydro-Québec proposes major work on Merrimac

On Monday, May 7 officials from Hydro-Québec set up shop in the Council Chamber of Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for the purpose of meeting with residents of the Meadows Condominium, located on Merrimac and Kildare Road.

It has been several years now that Hydro has been planning a major operation on Merrimac to modernize the equipment that supplies the condominium's electricity.  In order to carry out this work, Hydro needs to make an exchange of servitudes. The Meadows Condominium members must vote via  super-majority in favor of this.  

Download This document to read Hydro's 10 Questions and Answers on the Meadows Project

Only 35 residents attended the information session, which stretched from 3 pm to 8 pm in an open house kind of format.  

Five residents concerned about the project have formed an ad hoc committee.

Below is what they posted on Facebook

What is the situation? 


Hydro will keep our old electrical system in place, and we can continue using this power system. If there is a breakdown, Hydro will continue to repair it. The wires of this older system are unprotected (that is, the wiring has not been put in pipes), though it is unclear if this older system is problematic as Hydro will not provide us with any studies on the functionality of our system, or the study which has lead Hydro to propose this “upgrade”.

Hydro has asked to install a secondary system around the Meadows. On Monday they held an info session, and we are being asked to vote on Wednesday on changing the land that Hydro can claim as belonging to Hydro – this land is called the servitude - so that Hydro can begin the work.

At first glance, getting a new electrical grid at the Meadows sounds appealing. However, past experience with Hydro made a number of us co-owners question if they have thought the plan out sufficiently. (It is already of concern that they have given us only two days to get informed before the vote). So a group of co-owners have collaborated to try to get more information about this project and asked many questions at the Information session on Monday night. We concluded that too many questions remain unanswered and too few assurances were provided. Below are our main concerns, followed by our conclusion.

Main Concerns


1. Price: If we wish to use the new system, each home owner will need to do our own electrical and excavation work, at our own cost, to connect our “service loop” to their new piped electrical system. This cost is uncertain, but estimates are above 5,000$. 
2. Foliage loss: At least three very mature trees and many bushes will be taken down. All bushes, vegetation and trees in the new servitude will be photographed, removed, and be replaced by Hydro with young bushes and trees, which will take many years to grow back. Once the servitudes are modified, we cannot plant on the servitudes. If we do, we risk them being removed.
3. Structural damage to our homes: Hydro has not done any assessment to determine how they can mitigate risk to our foundations, building and infrastructure. The representatives at the meeting repeatly said “we know what we’re doing, don’t worry”. But when asked if a soil engineer has been engaged to ensure excavation & trenching work does not cause serious ground disturbance resulting in structural damage to our homes, they say they don’t need it as they said they will be operating 10 metres from our homes - but when it was pointed out that their plans have them operating 10 feet from our homes, they still insist they don’t need to do any investigating. They will supposedly be consulting a soil testing company to verify the constitution of the soil, but this hasn’t been done yet. They are not doing any sort of scans or ex-rays to verify ‘before’ and ‘after’ to check for vulnerabilities in the places they will be digging. They have no plans to provide a letter stamped by an independent structural engineer stating that there is no threat of structural compromise. The main civil engineer for the project was unfamiliar with the difficulties many of our homes are experiencing or the terrain of the Meadows – they didn’t even know that they cannot bring heavy equipment on our courtyards.
4. Hydro accountability limited: If any of our homes incur any damages, they will provide a phone number which we can call and lodge a complaint. There are no guarantees that Hydro will be held accountable for any damages. 
5. Little pollution control: They have no plans yet to control for air quality (e.g.,control cement particles in the air during construction) or to reduce noise during the work (e.g.,no backup noise attenuators on their trucks -beep beep beep). 
6. Lack of transparency: When asked if other projects of this sort had been done, their PR director refused to let anyone discuss this with us.

Conclusion


If we vote no to changes of the servitude map on Wednesday, then they delay the work to another year. The risk to us is that they would fix electrical issues using the same techniques they’ve been fixing them in previous years, which sometimes involved excavation of wires. This co-owner ad-hoc committee has concluded that we would like to get more answers and assurances before Hydro begins this project, so we plan to vote no. (PM us your email address and we can send the specific questions we asked Hydro, and more details of Hyrdos replies)

 


Hydro outage on the eve of second Passover Seder averted

While I was out of town on business last week, Hydro-Québec left voice mail messages for many homes in District 2 to advise them that power would be shut down for three hours on Tuesday afternoon, April 15. Now that just happens to be a few hours before the second Passover Seder.

We have good relations with Hydro. In fact I will be meeting with them in early May to discuss their plans to rewire all of Merrimac Road and Rembrandt Avenue within the next two years. We alerted them to this serious scheduling problem and they cancelled the work planned. It will be done at another time.

Nobody likes to have these  forced power outages.  Yet they are necessary to maintain our network and avert any serious power failures---a true nightmare for all of us.

Hydro truck


Hydro officials explain smart meters

Hydro Meters
Hydro-Québec held an open house for smart meters on Wednesday June 12 at our  Eco-Café in the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library. Residents received the invitations in the mail. A very impressive array of kiosks were set up and a steady flow of residents came through the doors to learn more about these smart meters, which will be installed in homes and buildings over the next several months.Mayor Anthony Housefather and I dropped by to thank Hydro officials  (pictured) André Fortier and Jean-Philippe Rousseau  for taking this extra step. You can read all about the new smart meters here.  Councillors Ruth Kovac, Allan J. Levine and City Manager Tanya Abramovitch were also on site.
 
«Hydro-Québec would like to thank the city and its residents for their interest in better understanding next-generation meters. This information session was made possible thanks to the collaboration of the City of Côte-Saint-Luc », said Mr.  Rousseau, Hydro's Community Relations Advisor.
The facts

Hydro-Québec must replace all its meters throughout Quebec with next-generation models, as its current meter technology is now outdated. Safe and reliable, these new meters have become the new industry standard. Replacement of electricity meters began a few months ago in Greater Montréal. At least 30 days before installation of the new meters, customers will receive a notice and a pamphlet from Hydro-Québec explaining that meters in the area will be replaced within the next few weeks. They don’t have to do anything. The replacement is quick, simple and free.
 
 
Essential upgrade
 
Right now, most of Hydro-Québec’s meters are electromechanical, with a spinning disc and several dials. They must be read manually and haven’t been manufactured in North America since 2010. Next-generation meters will record and automatically transmit electricity-use data to Hydro-Québec. There will no longer be any need for meter readers to visit customer premises.
 
More than 120 million next-generation meters have already been installed around the world. The state-of-the-art technology adopted by Hydro-Québec will offer enhanced functionality to customers, including faster detection of outages, which means service to customers can be restored faster. Starting in 2014, customers will be able to monitor their electricity online by logging into their Customer Space on Hydro-Québec’s website.
 

Secure, certified state-of-the-art technology

The new meters comply with Health Canada guidelines, which set safety limits for radiofrequency (RF) emissions in the environment. Next-generation meters are therefore safe and pose no health hazard. In fact, RF emission levels measured 1 m away from a next-generation meter are approximately 120,000 times less than Health Canada limits.

 

 

 

 
  


Hydro work on Fleet to continue until November 30

Last week, the Hydro Quebec project on Fleet Road. was put on hold when their sub-contractor discovered a ruptured high voltage cable in the excavation. The Quebec workplace health and safety board (CSST) ordered the work to stop until the situation has been fixed.

Work resumed on Wednesday, October 17. Our staff  has asked Hydro Quebec to make up lost time and they have agreed to add additional manpower in order to have all the work complete by November 30. Also, we expect to be able to re-open an additional eastbound lane (towards Décarie Blvd.) by Monday, October 29.

This is a project beyond our control and no doubt and inconvenience to an awful lot of people, myself included. We already had to suffer through some eight weeks of paving on the Hampstead side this past summer. Our public security officers have been an excellent job during the morning rush hour to keep traffic moving. What we all need now is some patience for just over a month. Where I live, we lost Hydro service for 20 hours last week. That was no picnic either.