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B.C. Hydro gives customers a break on bill payments

Premier John Horgan
Image Credit: flickr
April 01, 2020 - 1:42 PM

B.C. Hydro is giving all its customers a one per cent rate rollback and will allow many customers a three-month break from paying for their electricity.

Residential customers who can’t work because of COVID-19 or have lost their jobs can apply to not pay their hydro bills for three months. The money does not have to be repaid and will average $477 for each home.

Premier John Horgan made the announcement this afternoon, April 1, and urged people to apply only if they absolutely have to.

Some customers may also be eligible for B.C. Hydro's existing Customer Crisis Fund, which provides access to grants of up to $600 to pay their bills.

Small businesses that were forced to close because of COVID-19 can also apply to have their bills forgiven for three months – April through June. The average savings are estimated at $363 for the three months.

Hydro has also cancelled all service disconnections for non-payment during COVID-19.

Large industrial customers that are operating can apply to have a 50 per cent rate reduction for six months.

The government's announcement only applies to B.C. Hydro customers but may be adopted by Fortis B.C., Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources said during the news conference.

Since B.C. Hydro is a crown corporation, the plan was much easier to implement, he said. Fortis is a private company but he has been talking to them as well.

“They are interested and following very closely the program that B.C. Hydro is putting forward,” Ralston said.

He also noted that the B.C. Utilities Commission regulates Fortis B.C. and has jurisdiction over “what Fortis might be obliged to do.”

“I’ll await the response there,” Ralston said. “It may very well be very close to what B.C. Hydro is providing for its customers.

For further details on B.C. Hydro's response to COVID-19 go here.

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