An entire winter without heat or electricity

An entire winter without heat or electricity

Guy Berardino spent the winter in -40 degrees, suffered depression and had to spend thousands of dollars repairing the damage to his home. All because Hydro-Québec was unable to connect his residence within a reasonable time.

“It’s not just the stuff in my house that gets damaged, but my mind too. I have no life. I travel 20 km to shower at a friend’s house and wash in the laundry room,” says Guy Berardino, a resident of Saint-Jean.

Without electricity, we have to eat ready meals bought from shops. He wants to buy groceries, but he can’t connect a refrigerator at home.

“This is ridiculous, we’re not in the time of Caleb’s daughters!” I pay taxes like everyone else,” admits this receptionist over the phone, who struggles to hold back tears during our interview.

Bad surprise

In the fall of 2022, following a job change, Mr. Berardino buys a house in Saint-Jean that needs repairs. On October 8th he made a connection request to Hydro-Québec. He told himself that it must be inserted in time for the winter and bitter cold.

“I waited until the first week of December. My electrician told me he still had no news and that I should call Hydro-Québec. Customer service looked at my file and they told me: “Right now, we have a problem with a shortage of technicians. Plus, you live in the region. It takes 12 to 18 months, find yourself a plan”. It broke my legs! says the 55-year-old man.

Mr. Berardino equipped himself with a gas furnace and a generator. All of his neighbors are attached, however, and live within 100 feet of his house. Hydro-Quebec meanwhile offered him a “temporary connection,” but it cost $4,000 to $6,000.

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“Why should I pay extra? I am not a big employee, I work as a janitor in the school board,” he laments.

Almost $10,000 in damage

The situation complicates Guy Berardino’s daily life. He must come home every chance he gets.

“I spend my 45-minute lunch going to my house to see if the gas is turned off. Because if there is a lack of air in the house, the furnace stops”.

Of course, his house was damaged in the harsh winter without electricity. He lived part of the winter at 13 degrees Celsius. Snow swelled his windows and mold invaded the foundations of his house. Everything that has been built on the property is now to be dismantled.

“That’s at least $10,000 worth of damage, and that’s because I’m doing it myself. All my windows are frost-expanded and I’m going to have to replace them,” he says.

Fitzgibbon answers him

Mr Berardino admits he fell into depression after Christmas. He “watched his house” for 15 days in a cabana. Author and longtime friend Diane LaRocque worried about his mental state. She decided to contact the media.

“He scared me after the holiday. When he knew it was going to take so long, he was almost depressed, he couldn’t speak without crying. I was surprised that he called Hydro-Québec, they looked at his condition, but nobody did anything,” she said.

Eventually Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon received an email reply from himself, saying he would take care of his problem.

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But Mr. Ferrardino is still waiting.

Newspaper He contacted Hydro on Friday to inquire about the case.

“It is a link that requires engineering work, deforestation and planting power poles. It’s not a simple connection,” explains Hydro-Québec’s Caroline des Rosiers. When it involves engineering work, it involves more time. But Hydro-Quebec technician Mr. “He is in touch with Berardino,” he says.

Shortage of employees in Hydro

Hydro-Quebec, which reported historic profits on Wednesday, has been plagued by major labor problems.

“There’s really a lot of people missing when it comes to connection requests,” said spokesperson Cendrix Bouchard when asked about it Wednesday, when Hydro-Québec’s results were released.

“Demand has increased in the last two years, about 50%, but in many cases these are network extensions,” he notes.

Hydro also pays for its suppliers’ problems.

“Our fitters are very busy, but those who plant poles are sub-contractors. And they lack manpower. There is also increased demand, which is due to the economic boom,” he added.

Mr. Berardino looks forward to the day when hydro finally connects his home to his.

“If I speak in the media, I don’t want other people to do these things. We will not allow such people in a country like ours. Electricity is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

“I don’t want to go to the moon. I like to live a normal life, entertain visitors and cook dinner. »

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