Hydro-Québec to upgrade our region’s electrical grid

Fred Langan 

The big Hydro-Québec substation in the middle of Knowlton could be a thing of the past. It depends on the outcome of a massive rebuild of the electricity system in the Eastern Townships by Hydro-Québec.  But before any decision is made, there will be hearings and input from citizens and local governments.  The object is to upgrade power lines because the electrical infrastructure is “nearing the end of its service life,” says Hydro- Québec. There is growing demand from homes, industry and electric powered vehicles. 

“Because the power system in Estrie is operating at full capacity, the time to upgrade it is now,” says a release from Hydro-Québec. “The growing demand can only be met through the system’s reinforcement. Regional development and the emergence of a greener economy also depend on an upgraded system.” 

Electricity was first brought to this area 130 years ago by private companies, which were eventually taken over by local governments and, finally Hydro-Québec.  The electrical system was built by The Southern Canada Power Company, which had its headquarters in Knowlton, in the red brick building at the corner of Victoria and Lakeside.  Upgrading the system will actually mean fewer power lines and substations will be needed. This is why the substation at the end of Le Sapin’s parking lot may be history. But it will be a while before we know that.