Penticton mayor launches appeal to premier for fair electrical subsidy - InfoNews

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Penticton mayor launches appeal to premier for fair electrical subsidy

April 20, 2020 - 4:15 PM

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki is hoping an appeal to Premier John Horgan will provide some electrical billing relief for Penticton electrical consumers.

Vassilaki has asked the premier to provide a COVID-19 relief package for the City’s customers, similar to what Horgan announced on April 1 for B.C. Hydro customers. That package is only available to B.C. Hydro customers, who make up around 95 per cent of the province’s population.

The remaining five per cent are serviced by Fortis and five municipal utilities, including Penticton, New Westminster, Nelson, Grand Forks and the District of Summerland, according to a City of Penticton media release.

“We are calling for equal treatment that’s being offered to the rest of the province so we, too can offer relief on power bills to our citizens and businesses,” Mayor Vassilaki said in the release.

Fortis announced plans of its own for financial relief for its customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic last week, which included such things as deferred bill payments and interest-free repayments. B.C. Hydro's relief package includes bill forgiveness for up to three months and grants of up to $600 to allow customers to pay their bills.

The City is also concerned the current B.C. Hydro relief program will be passed down to Penticton residents in the future, perhaps in the form of a taxpayer subsidy to B.C. Hydro or an increase in the cost of power the City purchases from Fortis B.C., some of which is sourced from B.C. Hydro.

The mayor proposes a one-time subsidy to all electrical utilities to ensure relief is granted to all small business and residential customers across the province.

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