COVID-19 Update: BC Residents Can Receive a Three-Month Credit on Hydro Bill
With the growing crisis around COVID-19, the government is scrambling to find ways to ease the strain on businesses and people across the province. In the newest statement from Premier John Horgan and Minister Bruce Ralston, it was announced that B.C. Hydro and the Government of British Columbia would be working together to find new ways in which to help. This relief is referred to as the COVID-19 Relief Fund and proposes to take the strain off eligible customers for three months of their Hydro Bill.
This is in addition to B.C. Hydro cancelling planned outages, and service disconnections due to non-payments. Additionally, customers can arrange a payment plan or a deferral of hydro payments with no penalty as a part of the province’s pandemic response.
Who is Eligible?
Applications open April 6th for eligible residential customers to receive relief if they lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19. Application for the three-month Hydro credit is still available until June 30th, 2020. Customers will be required to provide proof of job loss to receive the offered aid, and the bill credit for residential customers does not have to be repaid. For the average residential customer, a hydro bill is about $159 per month, so on average, the credit provided for customers during the COVID-19 crisis will be $477.
Small businesses forced to close due to the protective social-distancing measures are also eligible for aid. With the new proposed relief, eligible small businesses will be forgiven for April, May and June with no repayment required either. The relief for small businesses will average at $363 over three months, with the average bills per month being $121.
Additionally, major industries will also be given a chance to defer 50 percent of their bill payments for the same three months as smaller businesses and residential customers.
For eligible customers, this relief could also include the already pre-existing B.C. Hydro Customer Crisis Fund, which provides an excess grant of up to $600 to pay bills. This relief is in addition to the previously announced one-per-cent cut for all customers by B.C. Hydro. This is an average savings of $16 on the annual electricity costs for residential customers, up to $715 for commercial customers, and up to $23,000 for industrial customers.
Premier John Horgan wants B.C. residents to be able to focus on essentials during this crisis. He has stated that he understands that people and businesses are facing unprecedented struggles due to the loss of a job, or business, amidst the COVID-19 crisis. This relief is planned for a three-month forgiveness on Hydro Bills for eligible businesses, corporations, and people to help ease the strain of the global pandemic. For those who need the help, be prepared to apply for the aid offered by the government to keep you afloat throughout the hard time’s everyone is facing.