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COVID-19: Hydro offers credits, rate reduction to help customers

BC Hydro has announced some bill credits and a rate reduction aimed at helping customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the bill credit program, residential customers who have lost their job or are unable to work will be able to apply to receive a one-time bill credit of three times their average monthly bill amount – this amounts to around $135 in savings for the average apartment dweller and $335 for the average single-family home, according to BC Hydro.

Small business customers that have had to close their business as a result of measures implemented to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 will also be able to apply to have their electricity costs waived for up to three months.

“We recognize the financial stress many of our customers are facing after losing their job or having to close their business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro President and Chief Executive Officer. “We hope that not having to worry about their electricity costs for a few months will help provide some temporary relief during these challenging times.”

Eligible residential customers will be able to apply for the COVID-19 Relief Fund by the end of next week and small business customers will be able to apply starting April 14. Customers have until June 30, 2020 to apply for relief.

In addition to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, BC Hydro announced a COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program. This program provides customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. To discuss payment options, BC Hydro customers are encouraged to call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376).

On April 1 BC Hydro rates were reduced by one per cent, following interim approval by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC).

As a result of BC Hydro’s audited Fiscal 2019 results and financial forecast, BC Hydro submitted a request for a rate reduction of around one per cent in an update to its Fiscals 2020 to 2021 Revenue Requirements Application with the BCUC in August 2019.

The updated rate will reduce the average residential customer’s annual electricity costs by up to $16, commercial customers’ annual electricity costs will be reduced by up to $715 and industrial customers by up to $230,000.

Over the next three years, the forecast net bill impacts are estimated to be:

  • April 2021: increase of 2.7 per cent
  • April 2022: decrease of 0.3 per cent
  • April 2023: increase of 3 per cent

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