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

VIDEO: Langley realtor builds holiday party for kids

Realtor Matthew Rufh hosted a gingerbread house-building party for the Langley Boys and Girls Club.

Charges pending for driver who sped away from police in Langley, crashed

A simple traffic stop escalated into a pileup on 56th Avenue.

Giants defenceman Byram headed to NHL prospects game

The young player is following in the footsteps of former Giant Ty Ronning.

Langley Rams receiver inks with BC Lions

Jevon Cottoy joined the Rams this season and now has a multi-year contract with the Lions.

UPDATE: Heavy rainfall, strong winds in forecast for Lower Mainland

Heavy rains, snow expected till Friday morning

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

Vancouver police make arrest in hit and run that killed skateboarder

Charges stem from a two-year investigation into the April 17 death of 30-year-old Ryan Barron

5 to start your day

Powerful winds anticipated in Lower Mainland, Chilliwack company facing charges in chicken abuse case and more

Increase in downed power lines in B.C., how to stay safe

BC Hydro study finds a third of British Columbians may be putting themselves at risk

Woman dies after being struck by bus in Burnaby

RCMP officers from the traffic and collision teams are investigating

Judge sets bail at $2.5 million in 1987 slaying of B.C. couple

William Talbott II, 55, is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Most Read