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

Greyhound’s departure opens door for BC Bus

After years of service cuts and declining service quality, Greyhound’s corporate owners… Continue reading

Update: Park pipeline protesters say arrest is a ‘declaration of war’

Led by Kanahus Manuel, the Tiny House Warriors moved into park in Clearwater last week

Police investigating more racist slogans on First Nations signs

Police are investigating racist graffiti being posted on First Nations signs in the Kamloops area

Update: Kamloops wildfire now mapped at 500 hectares

Firefighters worked overnight on what was a fast-growing wildfire east of Kamloops.

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Remembering Elvis at festival in Barriere

The 6th Annual Canadian Blue Moon Elvis Festival was held once again… Continue reading

B.C. Interior boys ride on to U.S. High School Rodeo Finals

Marty Hastings / Kamloops This Week Lincoln Yarama has been there before,… Continue reading

Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako… Continue reading

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Most Read