BC Hydro is now accepting applications from residential customers for its COVID-19 Relief Fund, while small business customers can begin applying next week.
The COVID-19 Relief Fund provides bill relief for BC Hydro residential and small business customers who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible residential customers can apply for a one-time bill credit of three times their average monthly bill amount. Premier John Horgan earlier said this will average out to $477.
Small business customers who have had to close their business as a result of COVID-19 can apply, starting next week, to have their electricity charges waived for up to three months.
Customers have until June 30 to submit their applications.
To be eligible for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, residential customers must be a residential account holder and have had their account since March 31. They or their partner/spouse must have lost employment or income due to COVID-19, because of a job lay-off, being quarantined or sick with COVID-19, taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, providing care for their children due to school and day-care closures or being unable to earn self-employment income.
In addition, customers must be eligible for either Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or B.C.’s Emergency Response Benefit for Workers and provide proof of their application or approval.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, BC Hydro has seen an increase in the number of customers seeking help with their bills. This includes a seven per cent increase in bill deferrals compared to the monthly average.
Since March 12, BC Hydro has also received a daily average of 100 COVID-19 related applications for its Customer Crisis Fund, which is nearly six times higher its typical daily average. The Customer Crisis Fund has been available to customers since May 2018 and offers grants up to $600 for customers facing temporary financial hardship and possible disconnection of their BC Hydro service due to job loss, illness or loss of a family member.
For customers who do not meet the eligibility requirements for the the COVID-19 Relief Fund or the Customer Crisis Fund, BC Hydro offers payment deferrals and payment plans through its COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program. Customers can call 1-800-BCHYDRO (224-9376) to discuss their options.
To apply for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, customers can visit bchydro.com/covid19relief.