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Hydroelectric power station in Val-Jalbert: The budget forecasts presented are false

Chute de Val-Jalbert

The budgetary forecasts submitted by the Société de l'énergie sociale du Lac Saint-Jean (SECLSJ) and their accounting firm are completely inaccurate with regard to revenue forecasts beyond the first 20 years, denounces the Rivières Foundation.

This indication, which was also mentioned in the Rivières Foundation's brief, was confirmed on Wednesday evening, September 26, by another promoter of small power plants as part of a BAPE information session in Saint-Joachim near Quebec. The promoter, the Hydro-Canyon Company represented by engineer Simon Gourdeau of the Axor engineering office, declared the following rules of the game regarding the contracts signed by Hydro-Québec:

  • The duration of the contract is 20 years and the budget forecasts must be based on this duration (the SECLSJ based its data on 25 years);
  • The purchase price of electricity by Hydro-Québec beyond 20 years is unknown (the SECLSJ has provided an automatically indexed price for the following 20 years);
  • This price, which will be established by Hydro-Québec, could be lower given that the infrastructure is already paid for and the price of electricity on the market;
  • Several contracts expired 20 years ago are currently in such a negotiation process;
  • It could even happen that a developer closes the power plant if the price offered by Hydro-Québec is too low and the power plant does not achieve the desired profitability.

We remind you that the SECLSJ mentioned to the population profits based on a period of 25 years with a price automatically indexed after the 20th year. These premises are false. Why did the SECLSJ knowingly transmit this false information in collaboration with its accounting firm?

The SECLSJ also uses undiscounted 2009 estimates. However, updated data shows much lower real benefits. For example, in the tenth year, the benefits would only be 231,501 $ (equivalent to 8.42 $ per citizen per year) and not 414,583 $. Over 20 years, profits thus fall from 30 to 13 M$. This failure to present revenues in present value (in dollars of today's value) falsely promises significant profits.

The Rivières Foundation therefore expressly asks the MRC and the city of Chambord to make public a new estimate of the cost of the work and to correct the profitability forecasts according to the exact conditions of the agreement with Hydro-Québec. Social acceptability can only be achieved with accurate and complete information.

Photo: Véloroute des bleuets


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