The rules and issues around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and information changes consistently. Please take note of when our content was written and always go to the sources we’ve provided for the most current guidance.
Today we’re sharing some more information from BC Hydro on their COVID-19 Relief Fund. (They also have other support options – read more about those further down.) This particular fund provides three months of help to customers and businesses financially affected by COVID-19. This blog post focuses on BC Hydro’s Relief Fund for small businesses. Here are some details.
What support is provided and for how long?
The fund allows eligible small businesses (those that have needed to close) to have up to three months of electricity charges waived. Electricity charges incurred from the later of April 1st, 2020 or the closure of your business through to June 30th, 2020 are eligible to be waived.
- You must be a business account holder and have had your account before March 31, 2020.
- Your account must be on the Small General Service rate:
- This includes rate schedules: 1300, 1301, 1310, 1311, 1234 and 1205
- The following are ineligible:
- government agencies (including publicly funded organizations),
- public and private schools (including post-secondary),
- strata (commercial and residential common use areas),
- churches/religious venues,
- outdoor/street lighting and telecom equipment,
- unmetered services,
- companies managed by BC Hydro Key Account Managers,
- companies that have more than 10 General Service accounts.
- You must have temporarily closed your business and ceased most operations due to a government order or because of a reduction in business due to COVID-19.
- You must upload information to demonstrate that your business is closed (i.e. a copy of a notice to customers that you’re temporarily closed, a photo of the business being closed, etc.).
If you have more than one eligible business account on the SGS rate, you can apply to get the charges waived for up to ten accounts. You must submit an application for each individual account.
How and when to apply:
Small business applicants can use this application form to apply. Applications are being accepted from now to June 30th, 2020.
You will need:
- Your BC Hydro account number,
- Your account information (i.e. the address and business and/or name associated with the account),
- Your business information (i.e. Canada Revenue Agency Business Number, closing date, etc.),
- Your contact information,
- Supporting documentation to prove you’re eligible for the program.
What else to know:
Other support options:
You may be eligible for one of BC Hydro’s other COVID-19 relief programs. In some cases, you might be eligible for more than one program, so take a look. Here’s where to start:
- BC Hydro’s COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program. This program allows you to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans without penalty.
- BC Hydro’s Consumer Crisis Fund (CCF). This program provides a grant towards the overdue balance on an account to those eligible. Read our blog post about the CCF that might be helpful to you.
BC Hydro has stated that they are currently stopping all disconnections due to non-payment, but if you are having trouble making your payments, you should still call them to discuss your options.
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
- What to know about BC Hydro’s COVID-19 Relief Fund for residential customers
- COVID-19: how to request a grand under BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit: What you need to know
Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC:
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.