Hydro-Québec tweets in English

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Côte St. Luc Councillor Glenn Nashen is hailing Hydro-Québec’s decision to present information on Twitter in English as well as French.

Nashen, who has called for English content on Montreal and Quebec government websites and Twitter feeds for the last few years, revealed the news on his blog. We looked at Hydro-Québec’s English-language @hydro_customer Twitter feed and discovered that it has existed since the end of this past April.

Nashen mentioned the lack, for the most part, of Hydro-Québec English tweets on his blog in 2014.

“Previously, the public utility would only Tweet in English when they deemed the message to be an emergency and even then they required reminders or requests to do so,” Nashen wrote last week. “Information about power outages, general information and power saving tips, promotions and other info is now available on Twitter at @hydro_customer.

“There is hardly a good reason for a critical infrastructure public utility to restrict their messaging to French only,” Nashen added. “They could easily have created two Twitter feeds, in both languages, from the outset. Their response to me was that they only Tweet out emergencies in English. Dissatisfied, I pursued this matter until they finally created their English Twitter feed. Hydro also has an excellent mobile app to report and monitor power outages and useful tools on its website, all available in English.”

Nashen credited D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum and his chief of staff Elisabeth Prass with “advocating with the minister and bureaucrats in Quebec City on behalf of constituents. They take this responsibility very seriously and on behalf of my constituents I wish to express my gratitude to them both.”

The councillor also lauded the continuing efforts of Hampstead lawyer Harold Staviss and fellow Côte St. Luc Councillor Ruth Kovac for language respect for the anglophone community from private companies and government agencies, and The Suburban‘s ongoing coverage of the issue.

“Now this is a call to all you Twitterers out there,” Nashen added. “There are only 150 followers (157 as of Thursday afternoon-I just added my name) on Hydro’s Twitter feed. Please click @hydro_customer now and follow them. Let’s see how quickly we can double this number. And let all of your followers know as well and we’ll increase it even more and send a message to the utility that this was a necessary and positive initiative. So thank you Hydro-Québec for doing what was right and sensible. Their positive actions should shine as an example to be followed by other agencies and departments. Merci beaucoup.”

The Hydro-Québec Twitter feed actually responded to Nashen’s blog. “Thank you for your kind words,” says the Twitter entry. “We are more than happy to serve our English-speaking customers on @hydro_customer.”

Nashen touts Hydro Quebec’s new offering of English tweets

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Free Press | Sept. 27, 2016 | Click to enlarge

Prodding Hydro Quebec to Tweet in English pays off

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After a few years of continuous urging, Hydro Quebec has finally decided to respect its English-speaking customers by Tweeting in English.

Previously, the public utility would only Tweet in English when they deemed the message to be an emergency and even then they required reminders or requests to do so. Information about power outages, general information and power saving tips, promotions and other info is now available on Twitter at @hydro_customer.

I had written to Hydro Quebec on occasion (search my blog for more about this) about the fact that they only Tweet out their power failure and other public messages in French only. This seemed totally counterproductive to me. There is hardly a good reason for a critical infrastructure public utility to restrict their messaging to French only. They could easily have created two Twitter feeds, in both languages, from the outset. Their response to me was that they only Tweet out emergencies in English. Di satisfied, I pursued this matter until they finally created their English Twitter feed.

Despite this step forward in providing information to customers in English, questions about your bill, electricity use or services will only be responded to from Mon. to Fri. (8 a.m.-8:30 p.m.) & on weekends (9 a.m.-5 p.m) on Hydro’s French Twitter feed @client_hydro.

Hydro also has an excellent mobile app to report and monitor power outages and useful tools on its website, all available in English.

The assistance of D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum and his tireless Chief of Staff Elisabeth Prass was instrumental in advocating with the minister and bureaucrats in Quebec City on behalf of constituents. They take this responsibility very seriously and on behalf of my constituents I wish to express my gratitude to them both.

Also of importance is the continuing coverage of language related issues brought to the attention of the public by local reporter Joel Goldenberg in the Suburban Newspaper. Joel’s reporting of language rights and the reluctance of certain city and provincial departments, as well as private companies, to show proper respect to English-speaking Quebecers as well as other Canadians and tourists has been very helpful.

Joel has been reporting on the exemplary work of Cote Saint-Luc Councillor Ruth Kovac and Hampstead lawyer Harold Staviss in their relentless pursuit of respect for English-speaking Quebecers. I hope Joel continues to demonstrate local journalistic advocacy which is proving to be beneficial, one step at a time.

Now this is  call to all you Twitterers out there. There are only 150 followers on Hydro’s Twitter feed as of this date. Please click @hydro_customer now and follow them. Let’s see how quickly we can double this number. And let all of your followers know as well and we’ll increase it even more and send a message to the utility that this was a necessary and positive initiative.

So thank you Hydro Quebec for doing what was right and sensible. Their positive actions should shine as an example to be followed by other agencies and departments. Merci beaucoup.

 

N

 

2016-09-14-hydro-tweet

 

Cavendish-Mackle intersection to close for two weeks

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road-closed-and-detour-signs

Hydro Quebec crews will begin working on the underground electrical connection for the new Shell gas station at the intersection of Cavendish and Mackle on Monday, April 18.

201604RoadClosureMap

 HQ contractor, Telecon, will carry out the installation of the underground conduits as well as the permanent repairs to the roadway.   Cavendish will be closed in both directions at the intersection of Mackle.
Hydro Quebec truck

Photo credit: Valleyweather.blogspot.com

Road closure information signs will be installed on Thursday, April 14 by HQ.  Cavendish will be closed between Mackle and The Avenue, except for local traffic.  Detours will be put in place as of Monday, April 18 via Marc Chagall for both northbound (at Kildare) and south bound (at Mackle) and efforts will be made to ensure proper traffic flow. Access to northbound traffic for City Hall and Library drop-off zone as well as for 5875 Cavendish will be permitted.
Residents in the immediate vicinity will receive detailed instructions by the city.
The work is expected to be completed by Friday, April 29, weather permitting.  No work will take place during the Passover holidays on April 22, 23 and 24.
Shell station
Once this underground Hydro Quebec work is completed the neighbourhood will benefit from a new Shell gas station, car wash and Bonisoir Depanneur.
Cavendish Mackle closure
Cavendish Mackle closure2

Hydro-Québec’s tree-cutting spree must stop, say residents and mayors

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MONTREAL, QUE.: SEPTEMBER 29, 2015 -- A group of residents in Cote-Saint-Luc are fighting Hydro Quebec on its plan to cut the majority of the trees at the back of their properties to increase clearance between trees and hydro power lines. A view of the backyards of the homes on Avenue Kreighoff in Côte-Saint-Luc, on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. (Dave Sidaway / MONTREAL GAZETTE) DAVE SIDAWAY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

A group of residents in Cote-Saint-Luc are fighting Hydro Quebec on its plan to cut the majority of the trees at the back of their properties to increase clearance between trees and hydro power lines. A view of the backyards of the homes on Avenue Kreighoff in Côte-Saint-Luc, on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. (Dave Sidaway / MONTREAL GAZETTE)

Hydro-Québec is planning to cut down hundreds of mature trees under its transmission lines on the western part of Montreal Island, strictly enforcing a safety protocol that residents and mayors of some municipalities are denouncing as overzealous, antiquated and anti-environmental.

Read the full story in the Montreal Gazette

Urgences Santé promotes safety for all on French only website, Twitter

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For quite some time I have been pushing the issue of language on signs, websites and social media within the public safety departments and agencies in the Quebec government as well as in the City of Montreal.
Recently, I noticed that Urgences Santé (the provincially mandated Montreal and Laval ambulance service, where I worked as an ambulance technician for 18 years) launched a new website and has taken to Tweeting. This is terrific and to be commended.
A major problem that I’ve discovered though, is that their new site doesn’t have a word of English. Rien de tout. Quite incredible for a major emergency operation serving over a million people, many of whom are English-speaking.
Furthermore, Urgences Santé policy, similar to the Quebec Police Force (SQ), is to tweet in French only, unless they consider the situation to be an emergency. There is a fundamental problem with this misguided policy when they consider an emergency situation message as being appropriate to be conveyed in both languages however messages promoting public safety (and not an immediate emergency) cannot be in English. This is plain wrong. It is dangerous.
In responding to my request for them to tweet in English Urgences Santé cites Bill 101. However, the Charter of the French Language, Section 22, allows for use of another language when it comes to “health and public safety”.
Therefore, once again, this public body, whose mandate is indeed health and public safety, refuses to communicate in a language other than French, for the purpose of educating the public in matters of health and safety. This makes no sense. It is a dangerous practice and a narrow view of the language law.
Of course, the reach of the Charter into social and digital media is in and of itself questionable as to jurisdiction but we’ll leave that argument aside for now.
Emergency medical services and public safety matters are very important to me. So too is the notion of the Quebec Government showing respect to the English-speaking population.
In the last months I have communicated with the communication policy at Urgences Santé, Transports Quebec, Hydro Quebec and the Quebec Police Force. All these agencies hide behind a very narrow interpretation of the French language charter. This must change. I have called upon D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum to help in these matters and appreciate whatever assistance he will bring to these issues with the goal of attaining more effective safety-related communications for Quebecers of both language groups.

CSL councillor frustrated with language-sparked info delays

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This Suburban article looks at my recent blog posting about bureaucratic delays in posting urgent public safety messages because of translation issues. It also mentions my ongoing complaint with the lack of English content on the Montreal Fire Department website and the very limited English tweeting by Hydro Quebec.

You should be outraged by the lack of respect offered to English-speaking Montrealers and Quebecers that actually place us at risk by not providing timely, or any, safety information. Call Montreal City Hall and the Montreal Fire Department to complain, as well as Hydro Quebec.

2014-07-09 Suburban, CSL councillor frustrated

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