How Much Will You Pay for Electricity? Quebec Asks Crypto Miners

(Bloomberg) -- Cryptocurrency miners’ appetite for cheap electricity is being put to the test by Quebec.

Under rules proposed Thursday by provincial utility Hydro-Quebec, blockchain companies will be required to bid for power and spell out the jobs and investment per megawatt that they will generate. The starting bid is 1 Canadian cent ($0.0075) per kilowatt hour above the rate the industry had previously enjoyed -- roughly a 20 percent increase.

The plan, which requires approval by regulator Regie de l’energie, will be used to allocate as much as 550 megawatts, according to the documents. That’s on top of about 120 megawatts of projects that are already in operation or approved.

“The goal of this process is to both maximize economic spinoffs for Quebec and revenue for Hydro-Quebec -- in turn, pushing electricity rates down for customers,” Canada’s biggest utility said in a statement.

After courting blockchain companies earlier this year in a bid to soak up surplus energy from dams north of the province, Hydro-Quebec found itself flooded with requests that it says exceed its short- and medium-term capacity. It now will charge a temporary, prohibitive price to halt new requests until new rules and rates for the energy-hungry industry are in place.

Under the selection process, the price that companies are ready to pay will account for 70 percent when ranking applications, according to the documents. The following step will favor companies that are ready to start operating.

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