Just when I thought Hydro-Quebec couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything more to upset or annoy me, the letter came out of the blue.
A letter that started my journey into the bowels of Hydro-Quebec hell. First you enter a purgatory where you phone and phone and phone just trying to get hold of a warm human being. After 15 minutes of trying to reach them and getting a busy tone (surely a major corporation that gives the government more than $350 million a year could afford more receptionists?), I finally hear a ring.
Halleluiah, the promised land is in reach. Wrong. This is purgatory, remember. The next 20 minutes is spent listening to how you can let Hydro-Quebec just extract the payment straight from your bank account or you can pay by automatic bank tellers. The message is given with one of those sickly sweet saccharine voices that I personally find annoying. I don’t find a real person who’s sweet annoying unless they’re trying to sell me something I don’t want to buy. To be really frank, I got the damn message after the first five minutes. Guess this is Hydro-Quebec’s attempt at subliminal advertising.
I nearly fell asleep as the voiced droned on, and then there was a click. I was hopeful and groggy. Yes, it wasn’t another step, I finally I get a chance to talk to a real person about the letter I had received.
It seems they were going to cut off my power unless I gave them my social insurance number. It’s times like this I wish I had never applied for one in the first place. You see, I can understand giving my number to employers. I don’t like it but I can see the reasoning. But to give it to Hydro-Quebec is another thing entirely.
To be able to have any business that is already a monopoly able to have access to all the data that the government may have on me is a frightening thing.
Crees have seen Hydro-Quebec in the past as the enemy. That has been changing recently. They don’t seem as fearful these days, but I guess behind the mask of geniality lurks the monster we all knew was there. Not only did they invade our land but now they want into our very lives without our consent.
At this point I wouldn’t consider that Hydro-Quebec is just the enemy of the Crees but is that of the Quebec population at large. The idea that they can invade the privacy of every individual in Quebec at will shows that they are not owned by all Quebecers as Hydro says.
It is no longer the company envisioned by Rene Levesque that would serve the people but has become big brother.
The question wasn’t whether or not I could pay but whether or not I would allow them access to my private life. I phoned lawyer J.R Murdock of Mainville & Associates to see what my options were.
It turns out there were none. Hydro-Quebec could turn off my power after eight days if I didn’t give them what they wanted. Unfortunately I don’t have a generator or I would have told them to go to hell… in a handbasket, etc, etc.
Now I have to pick up the phone for another long wait in Hydro-Quebec’s purgatory waiting for someone to invade my privacy.