Small new charge on BC Hydro bills goes toward new crisis fund

The new fund aims to help customers who find themselves in financial emergencies

A tiny new charge on BC Hydro bills is turning heads, earmarked for a new crisis fund that helps British Columbians pay their utility bill in times of financial struggle.

As of June 1, B.C. residents have been charged a levy of 0.82 cents per day, plus five per cent GST.

That amounts to roughly 25 cents per month, or $3 per year.

BC Hydro says the new crisis fund, which is a three-year pilot project, was ordered and then approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC).

On March 29, BC Hydro announced a new crisis fund would be created, while it was awaiting the commission’s approval.

At the time, the Crown corporation said it would be investing $10 million towards it low income programs.

According to a BCUC report, the program was anticipated to cost $600,000 to set up, with an annual cost of $900,000 to operate.

The Crown corporation’s goal is to collect $5 million per year and dole it out to eligible customers to the tune of $600 maximum for electricity-heated homes and $500 for non-electricity-heated homes, it said on its website.

The funds will be extended to customers on a per-needs basis, but is available to all residential customers who are facing a temporary financial emergency, regardless of income or whether the person is receiving other forms of assistance.

Not everyone happy with new program

Although less than a penny per day, social media users are voicing their frustration with yet another charge in an increasingly expensive world.

According to 2016 statistics, at any one time about seven per cent of Hydro’s 1.8 million residential accounts are in arrears 30 days or greater.

Based on that, the utilities commission said it anticipates Hydro will receive 12,600 applications a year for the crisis fund, of which about 8,400 will most likely be approved.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

UPDATE: Chilliwack man arrested for Agassiz break and enters

Westin Ferguson, 19, faces charges relating to break and enters throughout Agassiz

Short closures on Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge during pier upgrades

The project comes before the major retrofit of the bridge, which has been in the works since 2017

Preliminary inquiry starts for Chilliwack woman charged in 2016 fatal hit-and-run

Linnea Labbee, 70, accused in Dec. 1, 2016 incident that killed 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian

VIDEO: Wheelchairs teach Agassiz students acceptance through sport

Teacher Donna Gallamore brought wheelchairs to the Kent Elementary for learning and fun

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

Most Read