There are a large number of people in Chisasibi who are refusing to pay their electricity bills, according to Michel Lemay, spokesperson for Hydro Quebec.
Although details are being worked out with the band council right now and couldn’t be elaborated on, the actual money owed is well into the millions.
Some people have refused to pay for as far back as seven years.
Lemay feels that one thing they can do to improve the situation is to give the community more information about Hydro Quebec’s mission in the north. He also feels having the office in Chisasibi open more often, with longer hours is another part of the solution.
Despite non-payment by an unspecified number of individuals, there are no plans in the foreseeable future to cut anyone’s electricity.
“We prefer discussion, which is what we are doing now with the band council,” according to Lemay.
Payment plans for those who have delinquent accounts are available, and suited to fit each individual’s budget.
The reasons why people don’t pay range from flat out not wanting to, to not having enough money, to disdain with Hydro Quebec and some of their projects in the north.
“Some people also believe that not paying their Hydro was part of the ‘Paix des Braves’”, stated Lemay.
Chief Abraham Rupert, who is handling the file, could not be reached for comment.
The rest of the Chisasibi band council either would not or could not (lack of information) comment on this issue. Neither did numerous people who refuse to pay their bill, with all refusing comment.