UPDATED | June 7, 2018:
According to a report published today by Reuters, Quebec's state-owned power company, Hydro-Quebéc, has temporarily halted approvals for all new cryptocurrency mining operations.
According to the announcement, Hydro-Quebéc requested that the province limit the energy sold to cryptocurrency mining industry to a block of 500 megawatts, far below the 17,000 megawatts the prospective miners have requested.
Hydro-Quebéc has also asked the energy board to set pricing standards for the crypto-mining industry to help maximize its profits.
The halt on new crypto-mining operations and a possible rise in fees comes in response to Quebec's desire to restrict foreign crypto-mining companies from exploiting the country's low energy prices.
Hydro-Québec distribution president, Eric Filion, expressed concern that, without new rules, the digital mining industry will raise power rates for its residents and fail to meaningfully expand the province's economy.
ORIGINAL | June 1, 2018:
On Wednesday Le Journal de Montréal reported that the March 2018 ban on selling electricity to cryptocurrency miners has been lifted. This comes sooner than the 90-day expiration date originally set for the ban, at the behest of Pierre Moreau, Quebéc's minister of energy, and the Canadian government.
Mining cryptocurrency takes a massive amount of power. In May, ETHNews reported on an academic paper written by economist Alex de Vries, who concluded that by the end of 2018, the cryptocurrency industry could use as much power as a small nation. The ban on selling electricity to crypto miners was intended to alleviate the strain on electricity provider Hydro-Quebéc and limit costs to private homes and businesses.
The newly-issued decree stipulates that cryptocurrency mining companies will be charged a different rate from entities that use less power, and that Hydro-Quebéc will be allowed to practice "forced load shedding." This means at peak times when the energy capacity of Hydro-Quebéc is stretched to its limits, mining farms will be the first to have their power cut off in order to prevent homes, businesses, and institutions like hospitals from losing power. This practice will likely cause cryptocurrency mining operations to go dark 100 to 300 hours every year.
Hydro-Quebéc spokesman, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, spoke about the ban being lifted, stating:
"Having interruptible customers during these critical periods makes it possible to connect more … [The Mandate's purpose] is to ensure the implementation of cryptocurrencies in Quebéc by maximizing economic benefits and ensuring the stability of our electricity supply … We've been waiting a long time."