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Province provides power bill relief

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 3:53 PDT, Wed April 1, 2020

The BC government and BC Hydro are offering targeted power bill relief to those heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are facing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. People are out of work, and businesses are facing tough choices about whether they can stay open,” said Premier John Horgan. “Giving people relief on their power bills lets them focus on the essentials, while helping businesses and encouraging critical industry to keep operating.”

Residential customers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 will receive a credit to help cover the cost of their electricity bills. The credit, which does not have to be repaid, will be three times their average monthly bill over the past year.

Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills waived for three months, from April to June 2020.

Major industries such as pulp and paper mills and mines will be able to defer 50 per cent of their bill payments for three months.

BC Hydro rates will also be reduced by one per cent as of April 1. This is the first rate decrease in decades.

“We hope that not having to worry about electricity costs for a few months will help provide some temporary relief during these challenging times,” said BC Hydro president Chris O’Riley.

This news follows BC Hydro’s recent introduction of a COVID-19 assistance program to provide customers with options to defer payments or arrange flexible payment plans.

For more on BC Hydro’s response to COVID-19, visit: https://www.bchydro.com/news/conservation/2020/covid-19-updates.html

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