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.

 

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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

Environment Canada tornado tweets stalled by language laws

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Ottawa developing software to tweet warnings in French and English simultaneously

Meteorologists in the United States use Twitter to push weather warnings to the public, but that doesn’t happen in Canada — official bilingualism has proved a barrier to weather warning tweets. (CBC News) More

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In my opinion: This is beyond ridiculous. Rather than alert some, if not most, of imminent danger right away, officialdom requires the government to notify no one, for a while.

In Quebec, so many government agencies and municipalities don’t bother with a single word in English in any social media or online messaging, not even for public safety purposes.

At least the Canadian government uses both languages. But don’t delay emergency alerts when one language is ready and the other takes a few more minutes. A little common sense, in either language, would go a long way to protect Canadians!

Once the new simultaneous software is up and running perhaps they could share it with the Quebec government and cities. Hydro Quebec can’t be bothered to show respect to its English language clients on Twitter and the Montreal Fire Department has been promising for 10 years to find a translator for its online communications. C’mon folks. Where’s the outrage? Your life may depend on it?

It’s a matter of respect

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The Suburban Newspaper’s Joel Goldenberg began a series this week dealing with the efforts of Cote Saint-Luc Councillor Ruth Kovac and Hampstead lawyer Harold Staviss along with others who continue the struggle for language rights and respect in Quebec. For too many years retailers, companies and government offices have either refused to serve clients in English or have displayed French only signs even though the restrictive language laws allow for other languages on commercial signs.

I have singled out the Montreal Fire Department for their abysmal lack of English on their website and in social media, particularly their almost exclusive French tweets.

As well, I have criticized Hydro Quebec for not communicating nearly enough on their Twitter account.

The Quebec Transport Department is faulty at their lack of English on the massive public safety messaging electronic billboards they have erected on major highways around the city.

These are but a few examples of institutionalized discrimination against English-speaking Quebecers and tourists.

I encourage Kovac and Staviss, and anyone willing to get involved, to continue calling and writing to these companies, stores, agencies and offices and demanding the respect and rights that have eroded over the last four decades.

Read the article here: It’s a matter of respect_bilingualism_Suburban_2014-06-25

CSL had shelter prepared during standoff

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By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban, August 28th, 2013

Côte St. Luc had a shelter prepared at the Aquatic and Community Centre during the July 30-31 20-hour standoff between police and resident Isidore Havis on Guelph Road, Councillor Glenn Nashen revealed at the August council meeting.

Havis, who had dementia and had allegedly threatened Hydro-Québec employees, died Aug. 17.

Nashen said the city’s emergency services and agglomeration services were tested “perhaps to the maximum” in recent weeks, whether because of heat waves, the standoff and a fire on Holland. He congratulated those involved for their work.

The councillor, who is in charge of the public safety portfolio, commended his colleague Councillor Ruth Kovac for her involvement in the preparation of a shelter during the standoff, which turned out not to be needed “because our residents were so well taken care of.

“The fact that residents such as Councillor Kovac and the volunteers from volunteer Citizens On Patrol, and our city staff were willing and able to muster, at 1 a.m., to prepare themselves for this influx of residents that never came – it’s irrelevant the residents never came – they were willing to go that extra mile to help those who were potentially in need.”

Kovac thanked those involved as well, saying she had received a call at 12:45 a.m. July 31 from city manager Tanya Abramovitch asking that the Aquatic and Community Centre on Parkhaven Ave be made available for the affected residents.

“Only a few availed themselves,” said Kovac. “But to know that you can call on your vCOPS and have four of them, like that, show up and be with you, be at the ready to transport, to bring blankets to the residents, that’s amazing. That tells you that it works. They give their heart, their soul, their time. It was 1 in the morning and one of them stayed until 5 a.m., when the next crew came in. Our public security officers were outstanding that night. They went back to the scene to ask residents if they were in need, if they needed anything, any help. They reported back on a half-hourly basis.

“With all of the experiences we’ve had in the past number of years, especially the [1998] ice storm, we serve and take care of our residents, and it’s done with a good heart. The vCOPS were really something special that night.”

•••

Nashen, speaking about public safety, said emergency preparedness in the city has to be “adapted to the realities of modern day communication,” especially in light of the Lac Mégantic rail disaster in July.

“Our intention is to have tabletop exercises to plan out various disaster scenarios and see how it plays out around a meeting room, and then in 2014, to have a live exercise done somewhere in the community, be it in a school, residential street, CP Rail, we’re not sure. CP sits around the table with us, as do police, fire and other services.”

Man arrested in Côte St-Luc standoff has dementia: lawyer

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BY CHARLIE FIDELMAN, GAZETTE HEALTH REPORTER AUGUST 2, 2013

That a collection of 180 long guns, bayonets and other weapons were left in the hands of an elderly man whose mental abilities have been declining for some time is alarming, a Montreal expert in aging said Thursday.

Côte St-Luc resident Isidore Havis, 71, who held police at bay for 20 hours before being taken into custody by police Wednesday morning, has been suffering from dementia, his lawyer Jeffrey Boro told The Gazette. “It has got a lot worse recently.”

Police discovered a large collection of firearms registered to the Guelph Ave. home only once the siege had ended.

Described by neighbours as hostile and confrontational, Havis had barricaded himself inside the house after Hydro-Québec workers tried to carry out work on his property.

“It is an unfortunate situation that escalated out of control with terrible consequences, both for (his) family and the police,” Boro said.

The standoff in Côte St-Luc ended after Havis was shot with two rubber bullets; one police officer suffered minor injuries.

However, Havis’s mental decline was already evident as far back as 2008, during an arrest of his son at the house on child pornography-related charges. The elder Havis attempted to interfere with his son’s arrest. Court records show that police described the elder Havis as acting “disoriented” at the time.

Three years ago, a 90-year-old Australian woman with advanced vascular dementia beat her husband, 98, to death in their apartment with a desk lamp, flowerpot and a walking stick.

But extreme acts of violence are rare in people with dementia, said McGill University professor and neurologist Howard Chertow.

Less serious aggressive behaviour is more common, and it’s usually directed against people closest to them, their caregivers. More often, the elderly sufferers of dementia are themselves victims of abuse, emotional or financial, and are easy prey for fraud and telemarketing scams, Chertow said

The aging population is especially prone to a number of neurological conditions such as dementia, and the condition is not simply a matter of memory loss. Dementia can produce psychiatric symptoms, usually depression and apathy, but also paranoia and violence — and these symptoms are made worse by memory loss, said Chertow, who is also director of the aging research axis at the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital.

“Someone previously calm and polite can become aggressive, agitated and anxious,” Chertow said. “They can’t find something in the home became they can’t remember where they put it. They become paranoid that they’re being robbed, they fear the neighbours and barricade themselves at home.”

There may also be changes in perception, he added. “One patient saw a stranger when she looked in the mirror and became frightened of the stranger in her home.”

The science of violent behaviour is not clearly understood, but research suggests that the frontal lobes of the brain which are responsible for social control are deteriorating. Inappropriate behaviour may suggest the early stages of dementia, Chertow said.

Doctors and family members of those affected by dementia must consider a series of issues, Chertow said, for example, can the person live alone, drive a car, cook a meal or handle money?

“Clearly someone with cognitive impairment should not have any access to weapons,” he said. “These are basic safety issues.”

Incidents of dementia sufferers burning down their homes after trying to cook, wandering off and dying in snowbanks, or having driving or firearm accidents — “all that reflect that somehow the system didn’t work.”

Nona Moscovitz, responsible for mental health and addiction services at CSSS Cavendish community health agency, said that people are reticent to discuss any type of violence including family, conjugal or elder abuse.

“They may feel there are risks involved and they’re protecting a family member because if it’s brought out, steps might be taken to remove the individual,” Moscovitz said. “It’s a tough topic. And violence can be unpredictable.”

cfidelman@montrealgazette.com

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Hydro officials explain smart meters

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MikeCohen.ca: Hydro officials explain smart meters.

Hydro Quebec’s Next generation Meter

Hydro-Québec to meet with CSLers about Smart Meters June 19
Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban
June 12, 2013

Hydro-Québec will be meeting with Côte St. Luc residents from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday June 19 at Côte St. Luc city hall to answer questions regarding letters residents received about the installation of Smart Meters at area homes to measure electricity consumption, Côte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather announced.

Smart Meters are described as a more advanced method of measuring consumption.

Bilingual invitations are being sent out to all Côte St. Luc residents for the coming meeting. Many residents in municipalities throughout the island of Montreal have been expressing concerns about possible health issues related to emissions from the new meters. During a Côte St. Luc District 2 meeting hosted by Councillor Mike Cohen at city hall, Housefather said he had also heard similar concerns from residents.

“I called Hydro-Québec to the carpet, and really laced into them, for the fact they didn’t advise the city before they sent out letters to our residents,” the mayor said. “I found that was very inappropriate on Hydro-Québec’s part that they went ahead, trying to do major work in Côte St. Luc without first coming to the city, which is supposed to happen under our protocol. Hydro recognized this, apologized and assured us that won’t happen again. They had that problem in other cities as well.” Housefather also said that he, as well as Councillor Steven Erdelyi – who is a scientist – read a great deal of material on the meters. “It definitely looks to me like there is no health issue here,” the mayor said. “I don’t want to do Hydro’s work for them in convincing you of that, but I really believe the emissions coming from this are far less than the emissions coming from other things we have in our homes on a regular basis, whether it’s our wireless networks or microwaves. There’s a big cost savings for Hydro to [install the Smart Meters], because they don’t have to have someone come onto everybody’s premises to read the meter.”

The mayor added that Hydro is sending out proper, bilingual information on the Smart Meters.

On the other hand, Housefather pointed out that Hydro has instituted a high fee for people to keep their current meters. “I don’t think many people will exercise this delightful option and pay them $1,000 more a year to keep the old meter.”

Joe Schwarcz: No evidence radio-frequency devices are hazardous to health

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Hydro-Québec

Hydro-Québec (Photo credit: Lothann)

Smart meters are coming to Cote Saint-Luc.  Hydro Quebec has begun notifying residents that the new, more efficient mechanisms are on their way.

Some residents have expressed resistance to the move citing possible health concerns.

Joseph A. Schwarcz

However, resident expert, “Dr. Joe”, or McGill University and CJAD fame, and a frequent speaker at the CSL Public Library claims that with over 25,000 research studies and no conclusive evidence to suggest concern he would be just fine having a smart meter in his own house.

Read Dr. Joe’s full article, published in the Montreal Gazette on May 4, 2013:

Joe Schwarcz: No evidence radio-frequency devices are hazardous to health.

All that for a tree? Photo(s) of the week.

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A very unusual operation took place on Einstein Avenue last week.  Hydro Quebec had one single, gigantic tree to remove behind a home on Einstein, just north of Kildare.

In order to remove the tree some major equipment had to be brought in.   This lead to an entire street closure for nearly two days.

Resident Lewis Cohen snapped these shots towards the end of the operation. See how many pieces of equipment were needed, how many HQ subcontractor employees, and how much wood was cut?  Keep in mind that this was for removal of a single tree.

SAMSUNGEinstein tree removal Nov 2012SAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNG

Hydro work on Fleet to end, finally

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The urgent repair work by Hydro Quebec that has resulted in traffic snarls entering and exiting Cote Saint-Luc along Fleet road for several weeks will finally come to an end tomorrow.

Hydro reports that their work has finally wrapped up and concrete is being poured to replace the sidewalk and the road surface is being restored.  All lanes will return to normal with this construction completed ending weeks of frustrating tie ups and traffic jams.

This situation underscored the important need for the Cavendish extension.  Discussions continue among the suburban and Montreal mayors.

 

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