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 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 residential customers. Here are some details.
What support is provided and for how long?
If you are a residential customer, the fund may give you three months of free credit on your BC Hydro bill, based on average consumption.
- You must be a residential account holder and have had your account as of March 31st, 2020.
- You need to be eligible for Employment Insurance, The Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.
- You or your spouse or partner must have stopped working due to COVID-19. This does not mean you or your partner must have been laid off (although you could have been). This requirement just means that you must be unable to work due to COVID-19.
- You must be able to upload verification of eligibility through supporting documentation. This could look like a document of approval from employment. insurance, a notice of closure from your child’s daycare, etc.
- Your average monthly electrical consumption must not exceed 2,500 kWh.
There is a maximum of one COVID-19 Relief Fund bill credit, per household.
How and when to apply:
Residential applicants can use this application form to apply. Applications are being accepted any time between now and June 30th, 2020.
You will need:
- Your BC Hydro account number,
- Your account information (i.e.. the address and name associated with the account),
- Your contact information,
- Supporting documentation to prove you’re eligible for the program.
What else to know:
Similar support is available to small businesses. We will be writing a blog post about it in the coming days (and will link it here when it’s available). For now, check BC Hydro’s COVID-19 Relief Fund for small businesses page for updates.
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!
- 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.