R-6 - Act respecting the Régie de l’électricité et du gaz

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chapter R-6
Act respecting the Régie de l’électricité et du gaz
RÉGIE DE L’ÉLECTRICITÉ ET DU GAZJune 17 1988June 17 1988
Chapter R-6 is replaced by the Act respecting the Régie du gaz naturel (chapter R-8.02). (1988, c. 23, s. 72).
1988, c. 23, s. 72.
INTERPRETATION
1. In this act, the terms hereinafter mean or designate respectively:
(a)  gas : natural gas, manufactured gas, any variety or any mixture of either, liquefied petroleum gas or any mixture of liquefied petroleum gas and air, conveyed or distributed by tubing;
(b)  gas undertaking , or undertaking when such word designates a gas undertaking: any undertaking for the sale, storage, conveyance or distribution of gas in Québec;
(c)  gas distributor , or distributor when such word designates a gas distributor: any person, firm or corporation carrying on a gas undertaking as owner, lessee, trustee, liquidator or assignee;
(d)  electricity undertaking : any undertaking for the production, sale or distribution of electricity;
(e)  electricity distributor or distributor when such word designates an electricity distributor: any person, firm or corporation carrying on an electricity undertaking; such terms also include their lessees, trustees, liquidators or assignees, but do not include municipal corporations, Hydro-Québec or any cooperative established under the Rural Electrification Act (1945, c. 48);
(f)  Board : the board constituted by section 2.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 1; 1970, c. 25, s. 1; 1986, c. 21, s. 18.
CONSTITUTION OF THE BOARD
2. A supervisory and arbitration committee respecting the production, sale and supply or distribution of electrical power, the matters referred to in section 37 and the sale, supply or distribution, conveyance and, subject to the Mining Act (chapter M-13), the storage of gas, is hereby created under the name of “Régie de l’électricité et du gaz”.
It shall be composed of four controllers, one of whom shall be president and another vice-president, to be appointed by the Government which shall fix their remuneration.
However, the salaries of the president, the vice-president and the other controllers shall in no case be less than those being paid for the exercise of each of such offices respectively on the fifteenth of December, 1958.
They shall remain in office for ten years, subject to dismissal for reasons deemed sufficient by the Government.
Such controllers shall remain in office, notwithstanding the expiration of their term of office, until they have been replaced or reappointed.
The Board shall not be dissolved by reason of vacancy among the controllers.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 2; 1970, c. 25, s. 2; 1975, c. 31, s. 5; 1977, c. 5, s. 14.
3. The Board shall have its chief place in the city of Montréal; it may have offices at any other place in Québec.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 3.
4. The controllers shall hold their meetings at the chief place of the Board or at any other place chosen by them. Two controllers shall constitute a quorum.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 4.
5. The vice-president, in the case of the absence or inability to act of the president, shall exercise the powers of the latter. The controllers shall decide by a majority vote; if there be a tie, the president shall have a casting vote.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 5.
6. In the case of the death of a controller, or of his inhability to act due to illness, absence from Québec or any other cause, the Government may appoint a person to act temporarily in his stead and may fix his remuneration; the person so appointed shall have all the powers and perform all the duties of a controller.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 6.
7. The controllers shall devote all their time to the work of the Board and the duties of their office, and must not engage in any other occupation nor hold any other office.
No member, officer or employee of the Board shall, under pain of forfeiture of his office, have a direct or indirect interest in an undertaking putting his personal interest in conflict with that of the Board.
Such forfeiture, however, shall not be incurred if such interest devolves to him by succession or gift provided he renounces or disposes of it with all possible dispatch.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 7; 1970, c. 25, s. 3.
8. The secretary and the other functionaries and employees of the Board shall be appointed in accordance with the Public Service Act (chapter F-3.1.1).
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 8; 1966-67, c. 17, s. 4; 1978, c. 15, s. 140; 1983, c. 55, s. 161.
9. Any writing or document concerning the Board or its operations, signed or attested by the secretary of the Board in his official capacity, shall be authentic and be proof of its contents, without the necessity of proving the signature thereof.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 9.
10. The controllers, the secretary, the officers and the employees of the Board cannot be prosecuted on account of official acts done bona fide in the performance of their duties.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 10.
§ 1.  — Respecting electricity
11. The Board shall have a general and complete power of supervision and control over the undertakings of the electricity distributors.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 11.
12. No distributor may exact higher prices for his electricity than those necessary to enable him to meet the expenses of the undertaking and to assure him a reasonable return which must be based upon the physical assets of the distributor.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 12.
13. The physical assets of such undertaking shall comprise only the rights held by such electricity distributor in the falls, rapids, hydraulic powers, dams, constructions, works of all kinds, machinery, moveables and immoveables, forming a useful part of the undertaking, and in all leases connected with the undertaking, valued for the period of their duration, without figuring upon the possibility of renewal.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 13.
14. The undertaking’s expenses mentioned in section 12 shall consist exclusively of :
(a)  reasonable costs of administration, operation and maintenance;
(b)  public taxes and imposts, except income tax and tax on profits;
(c)  a fair amount for deterioration of the physical assets.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 14.
15. The Board may, after an investigation, which may be only summary, change the prices demanded by any distributor for the sale of electricity, in such manner as to make them conform to the requirements of this act.
The prices so fixed by the Board shall be compulsory upon the distributor who shall not discontinue the service upon the consumer’s refusal to pay a higher sum than the rates so determined, under penalty of damages. Any sum paid beyond the rate fixed by the Board may be reclaimed notwithstanding any agreement or stipulation to the contrary.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 15.
16. At the request of any interested party, the Board may cancel or alter any contract for the sale of electricity, if the party applying establishes that the conditions of such contract are abusive.
In the case of a contract between an electricity distributor and a municipal corporation, twenty-five elector-proprietors may, on behalf of the latter, ask for the cancellation or alteration of such contract.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 16.
17. No contract or agreement between a distributor and any municipal corporation, for the sale of electricity, may be made for a period exceeding five years.
The duration of any contract or agreement contemplated in the first paragraph exceeding such period is reduced to five years.
Nevertheless the Board, upon such conditions as it may determine and whenever it considers it equitable and in the public interest, may authorize, upon the application of a municipal corporation, the making of such a contract for a longer period but not for more than ten years. It may also, for the same reasons and upon such conditions as it may fix, allow, upon the application of a municipal corporation, a contract of five years’ duration or less to be extended for an additional period of not more than five years, but at rates which must not exceed those of the contract extended.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 17.
18. When, after an investigation held under section 15 or section 16, the Board has imposed a rate reduction of at least twenty per cent on a distributor, the latter shall bear all the costs of the investigation; otherwise such costs shall be adjudged or apportioned as the Board deems equitable.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 18.
19. The Board may, moreover:
(a)  create committees for study and experimentation in matters of electricity in order to help perfect methods of generating and distributing electricity;
(b)  oblige distributors to adopt any measure or reform tending to increase the production or reduce the cost of electricity;
(c)  regulate conditions as to health and safety in any undertaking for producing or distributing electricity.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 19.
20. The Board shall also have authority and exclusive jurisdiction:
(a)  to oblige any electricity distributor, whenever the Board deems it just and in the public interest, to extend its electricity service to another territory designated by the Board and to serve the consumers in such territory, upon such conditions and at such rates as it may determine; to oblige any distributor operating in Québec an electricity undertaking, whenever in the opinion of the Board the interests of Québec, the circumstances and equity justify such action, to supply, upon such conditions and at such rates as the Board may determine, from the electricity produced in Québec, that which is needed by industrial and commercial undertakings in the territory of such distributor and, for the same purposes, order such distributor to connect his systems to other sources of electric power situated in Québec;
(b)  to receive any petition and decide any contestation respecting the establishment or extension, upon municipal highways, roads, streets and lands, of underground conduits, overhead wires or other installations used for transmitting or distributing electricity;
(c)  to regulate any electrical construction or line, even when it crosses or parallels an already existing installation of any nature whatever, and order all necessary work in respect of both the electrical line or installation and the already existing installation;
(d)  to order, on such conditions as it may determine and notwithstanding section 2 of the Act respecting certain public utility installations (chapter I-13), the sharing of the utilization of poles by more than one supplier or distributor of electricity when only suppliers or distributors of electricity utilize or require the utilization of such poles.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 20; 1973, c. 38, s. 99; 1975, c. 31, s. 6.
21. No electricity distributor may produce, sell or distribute electricity in Québec unless he be the holder of a license in force, obtained from the Board upon payment of the required duties.
Such license shall be issued on the first of May of each year and shall expire on the thirtieth of April following, unless the Board has previously cancelled it.
Nevertheless provisional licenses, granted for periods of less than twelve months, may also be issued upon payment of the required duties.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 21.
22. The license must state the conditions which the Board deems useful or necessary for the protection of the rights of consumers.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 22.
23. The Board may, at any time, cancel a license or alter it through a change in the conditions which existed at the time of the issuing of such license.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 23.
23.1. (Repealed).
1985, c. 34, s. 275; 1988, c. 23, s. 81.
§ 2.  — Respecting gas
24. All gas undertakings shall be subject to the supervision and control of the Board, in accordance with the following provisions.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 24.
25. No distributor may exact, for the gas sold or distributed by him, a price or rates higher than those necessary to enable him to meet the expenses of the undertaking and to assure him a reasonable return on his investments in the undertaking, such price or rates not to exceed in any case those authorized or prescribed by the Board.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 25.
26. In the case of a distributor having acquired, for the purpose of establishing his undertaking, the distribution system of manufactured gas and other assets of Hydro-Québec, with the ship-borne transport organization and that for the production of manufactured gas used to supply such distribution system, the price actually paid for such property shall be deemed to be the fair value thereof and shall form part of the investments mentioned in section 25, as well as the cost of conversion of the said system into a natural gas distribution system, including the appliances and installations placed on the property of customers.
As to the other property engaged in the undertaking, the fair value thereof shall be estimated on the basis of its replacement cost less depreciation.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 26; 1977, c. 5, s. 14; 1978, c. 41, s. 28.
27. A reasonable return within the meaning of this act must be sufficient to enable the distributor to meet the expenses requisite for the stability and normal development of the undertaking, so as to allow him to meet the needs of the consumers.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 27.
28. The Board may, at the request of a distributor, fix or approve prices or rates for the sale and distribution of gas.
It may also, of its own motion or on the application of any interested party, after an investigation and after having given the distributor the opportunity to be heard, fix or change such prices or rates.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 28.
29. No consumer shall be bound to pay, for gas, a price or rates higher than those fixed by the Board. Under penalty of damages, no distributor may discontinue or suspend service to the consumer because of his refusal to pay a price or rates higher than those fixed by the Board.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 29.
30. Sections 87, 89 and 94 of the Gas, Water and Electricity Companies Act (chapter C-44) shall apply to a gas distributor.
1970, c. 25, s. 4.
31. The installation of pipes, conduits, dependencies, apparatus or other gas works by a gas distributor, under or along any public road, street, lane, square or other public place in a municipality shall be made in accordance with the conditions agreed upon between the parties, or, failing an agreement, upon the conditions fixed by the Board.
1970, c. 25, s. 4.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO DISTRIBUTE GAS
32. No person shall distribute gas unless he has obtained from the Government, upon the recommendation of the Board, the exclusive right to do so; such right shall be granted for such territory as is determined by the Government, upon the recommendation of the Board.
Such exclusive right shall be granted for thirty years unless it is granted for a shorter period upon the recommendation of the Board. It may be renewed by the Government, upon the recommendation of the Board, for any period not exceeding thirty years.
The Government, upon the recommendation of the Board following an inquiry made by it, may revoke such right in the public interest.
The Minister of Energy and Resources shall give notice in the Gazette officielle du Québec of the granting, renewal or revocation of the exclusive right.
1970, c. 25, s. 5; 1979, c. 81, s. 20.
32.1. (Repealed).
1985, c. 34, s. 277; 1988, c. 23, s. 81.
33. When an application for an exclusive right to distribute gas or for a renewal of such a right is received by it, the Board must cause to be published in the Gazette officielle du Québec and in one French-language daily newspaper and one English-language daily newspaper circulating in the territory contemplated in the application a notice stating that such an application has been sent to it and that at the place and hour and on the day indicated in the notice it will hold a public inquiry at which the applicant, or any person, firm or corporation wishing to become an applicant or having representations to make, may be heard. The inquiry shall not be held before the expiry of the thirty days following the last publication.
The Board shall make a recommendation only for a person, firm or corporation who or which, in its opinion, is in a position to offer the best service upon the best conditions.
1970, c. 25, s. 5.
34. Upon the application of any interested person, the Board may, after a public inquiry announced and held in accordance with the first paragraph of section 33, and after giving the holder of the exclusive right the opportunity to be heard, compel such holder, upon such conditions as it fixes, to extend his undertaking to any part of the territory for which the exclusive right was granted to him.
It may also, upon the application of any interested person, compel the holder of the exclusive right to extend his undertaking beyond the territory for which such right was granted to him; the order may be made only after the proceedings contemplated in the preceding paragraph have been had and if the Government, upon the recommendation of the Board, has extended the territory for which the exclusive right had been granted.
In both cases, the Board must make certain that the profitability and the efficiency of the undertaking will not be impaired as a result of its decision.
1970, c. 25, s. 5.
35. The holder of an exclusive right may exercise within the limits of the territory for which the right was granted to him the powers respecting gas set out in sections 63 to 71 and 73 to 76 of the Gas, Water and Electricity Companies Act (chapter C-44), subject to the restrictions, conditions and obligations specified in such sections.
He may exercise the same powers, subject to the same restrictions, conditions and obligations, respecting the construction of pipelines to be used for the conveyance and delivery of gas to his customers in the territory for which the exclusive right was granted to him, whether such pipelines are built, in whole or in part, within or outside such territory.
1970, c. 25, s. 5.
36. The holder of an exclusive right may acquire by agreement or by expropriation any right of way, servitude or immoveable required for the conveyance or distribution of gas.
1970, c. 25, s. 5 (part).
§ 3.  — Respecting steam, heat, light or motive power produced otherwise than by electricity
37. Any undertaking whose main or accessory object is the production, transmission, supply or distribution, or sale, of steam, heat, light or motive power produced otherwise than by electricity is subject to the supervision and control of the Board.
Sections 24 to 36 of this act and sections 2 to 4 of the Gas Distribution Act (chapter D-10) apply, mutatismutandis, to the undertakings referred to in this subdivision 3.
1975, c. 31, s. 7.
INVESTIGATIONS BY THE BOARD
38. The Board, any controller designated by the president or, if the latter is unable to act, by the vice-president, and any person specially authorized by the Board, may make an inventory of all the property of the distributors and carry out investigations as to the financial structure, books and methods of accounting, rates, receipts, profits, salaries and in general all the operations of the distributors. Investigations respecting the electricity distributors designated to the Board by the Government shall have precedence over all others and must be conducted with all the celerity humanly possible.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 30.
39. Sections 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16 and 18 of the Act respecting public inquiry commissions (chapter C-37) shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to investigations held under this act. In the case where such investigations are conducted by a person other than a controller, such person shall take the oath provided in section 2 of the aforesaid act.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 31.
40. A controller acting in virtue of this Act may, on any day not a holiday, between eight hours and eighteen hours:
(a)  have access to any land, to any plant and to any construction or material whatsoever of a distributor, make a full examination thereof and take cognizance of any books, plans, specifications, drawings and documents whatsoever that it is useful to consult;
(b)  take all the information that he deems useful respecting the watercourses, waterfalls, rapids and constructions, on the premises or elsewhere;
(c)  bring and utilize upon the premises the equipment and the instruments deemed necessary by him for his investigations and make use of those found there;
(d)  examine, make an inventory of and valuate, subject to revision by the Board, the physical assets, within the meaning of this Act, of any electricity distributor, or the property of any gas distributor.
A controller exercising the powers provided in the first paragraph shall, on request, identify himself and produce a certificate of his capacity issued by the Régie.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 32; 1986, c. 95, s. 292.
DUTIES OF DISTRIBUTORS
41. An electricity distributor or a gas distributor must obtain the prior authorization of the Board to cease or interrupt his operations or to extend, alter or change his undertaking, and a gas distributor must obtain such authorization to transfer, alienate or amalgamate his undertaking.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 33; 1970, c. 25, s. 6.
42. (1)  From and after the first of September 1945, the following, unless previously authorized by the Board, shall be null:
(a)  every issue and every putting into circulation of stock, bonds, debentures or debenture-stock, or any securities within the meaning of the Securities Act (chapter V-1) issued by an electricity distributor;
(b)  every change in the capital stock or in the par value of the shares of any such corporation;
(c)  every merger of undertakings for the production or distribution of electricity;
(d)  every transfer of such undertakings.
The Government, after consultation with the Board, may order that the provisions of this subsection, except those of paragraphs c and d, and of any legislation to the same effect which may have existed before the 1st of September 1945, have never applied and, from the date which it indicates until that which it fixes, shall not apply to such electricity distributors as it shall designate, whenever it considers that the production, sale or distribution of electricity by such distributors constitutes merely an accessory activity of their undertaking and only serves the purposes of such distributors or those of their employees or of persons who live or do business near the undertaking.
Every order of the Government made under the preceding paragraph shall be published in the Gazette officielle du Québec.
(2)  Every issue and every putting into circulation, in Québec, by or on behalf of a gas distributor, of stock, bonds, debentures, debenture-stock or other securities within the meaning of the Securities Act, and related to the undertaking of the distributor, must be authorized by the Board.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 34; 1969, c. 35, s. 1.
43. Unless previously authorized by the Board, any loan contracted by a gas distributor for the purposes of his undertaking otherwise than in accordance with subsection 2 of section 42 or by means of promissory notes or negotiable instruments payable on demand or within twelve months of issue shall be null, if the amount of such loan or the aggregate amount of the loans so contracted and not repaid attains, in consequence of such loan, twenty-five per cent of the assets of the undertaking.
The preceding paragraph shall not apply to Hydro-Québec or to any company in which Hydro-Québec holds at least ninety per cent of the shares.
1970, c. 25, s. 7.
44. Any allotment or transfer of shares of a gas distributor the effect of which would be to make the number of shares held by the same person or on his behalf greater than fifty per cent of the number of shares held by all the shareholders shall be null unless previously authorized by the Board.
Any change in the capital stock or in the par value of the shares of a gas distributor shall also be null unless previously authorized by the Board.
1970, c. 25, s. 7.
45. Every distributor shall, each year, at the date fixed by the Board, transmit to the latter a sworn report, setting forth:
(1)  as to an electricity distributor:
(a)  the name, firm name or corporate name of such distributor;
(b)  in the case of a corporation, its then present capital stock, the various issues of securities made since the establishing of the undertaking, and the names of the directors;
(c)  the assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses of such distributor for the year covered by the report;
(d)  the annual output of electricity in kilowatt hours and the capacity of the generating plants of such distributor, and the quantity sold in the same period;
(e)  the actual value of the physical assets of his undertaking and the total of the expenses enumerated in section 14;
(f)  all the rates charged during the year covered by the report;
(g)  any other information which the Board may demand.
(2)  as to a gas distributor:
(a)  the name, firm name or corporate name of such distributor;
(b)  in the case of a corporation, its capital stock, the various issues of securities made since the establishment of the undertaking or since the last report, and the names of the directors;
(c)  its assets, liabilities, expenses and revenues for the year concerned in the report;
(d)  the prices and rates charged during the said year;
(e)  any other information which the Board may demand.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 35.
REPORT BY BOARD TO THE GOVERNMENT
46. The Board shall make a report to the Government, at the date determined by the latter:
(a)  of the applications made to the Board and of the orders issued by it since the beginning of its functions or, as the case may be, since its last report;
(b)  of the number, nature and result of the investigations made during the same period.
The Board shall, in addition, supply the Government with any other information it may require.
Such report must be laid before the National Assembly in the first three weeks of the ensuing session.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 36; 1968, c. 9, s. 90.
REGULATIONS BY THE GOVERNMENT
47. The Government may adopt regulations:
(a)  to fix the duties exigible from the persons, firms or corporations who or which have the exclusive right to distribute gas, for the licenses contemplated in section 21 and for the authorizations contemplated in sections 42, 43 and 44;
(b)  to provide for the proper working of this act and of the Board;
(c)  to prescribe the procedure respecting the examination, evidence, hearing and the decision of any question submitted to the Board.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 37; 1970, c. 25, s. 8.
DUTIES AND FEES
48. The Government may adopt tariffs of fees and duties payable to the Board upon the matters submitted to it and the proceedings had before it under this act.
Such fees and duties, as soon as collected, shall be transmitted to the Minister of Finance to be paid into the consolidated revenue fund.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 38.
49. The Board shall decide in last resort any matter within its jurisdiction.
The Board, before rendering a decision that may modify the use of an immoveable situated in a reserved area or in an agricultural zone established in accordance with the Act to preserve agricultural land (chapter P-41.1), must obtain the advice of the Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Québec.
It shall adjudicate at its discretion upon the expenses and costs respecting matters within its jurisdiction and the enforcement of its decisions, subject to the provisions of section 18.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 39; 1978, c. 10, s. 107.
50. The Board may at any time, of its own motion or on the application of any interested party, revise, amend or repeal its decisions or orders.
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 40.
INFRINGEMENTS AND PENALTIES
51. Every electricity distributor infringing any provision of this act or of an order of the Board shall, in addition to the costs, be liable to:
(a)  cancellation of his license;
(b)  confiscation, in favour of the contributory fund of the Board, of any sum which such distributor has paid into it; and
(c)  a fine of $5 000 to $20 000.
The fine contemplated in paragraph c shall be recovered in accordance with the provisions of Part I of the Summary Convictions Act (chapter P-15).
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 41.
52. Every gas distributor infringing any provision of this act or of an order of the Board shall, in addition to the costs, be liable to a fine of $1 000 to $5 000 for the first offence and of $5 000 to $25 000 for every subsequent offence.
The penalties contemplated in this section shall be imposed upon summary proceeding, in accordance with the Summary Convictions Act (chapter P-15).
R. S. 1964, c. 87, s. 42.
53. (This section ceased to have effect on 17 April 1987).
1982, c. 21, s. 1; U. K., 1982, c. 11, Sch. B, Part I, s. 33.
REPEAL SCHEDULE

In accordance with section 17 of the Act respecting the consolidation of the statutes (chapter R-3), chapter 87 of the Revised Statutes, 1964, in force on 31 December 1977, is repealed effective from the coming into force of chapter R-6 of the Revised Statutes.