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

Surrey man fined $10,000 by Kelowna’s Provincial Court

The man was convicted for three Wildlife Act offences after shooting a bull moose not in season

West Kelowna Warriors fall short to Vernon

The Warriors lost 1-0 in the hard fought battle

Rockets snap streak, shutout Everett 2-0

Kelowna got their first win in seven games against the second best team in the league.

Women’s march to be held in Kelowna today

The march takes place at 11:30 a.m. at the Dolphins

15 to 20 cm of snow to fall on Coquihalla

Kelowna - A snowfall warning is in effect for the highway from Hope to Merritt

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Letter: BrainTrust offers support for Kelowna housing project

Kelowna - “Fifty three per cent of homeless individuals live with a brain injury…”

Most Read