FortisBC customers whose finances have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are being offered options to defer their bills until July 1, the energy provider announced Tuesday, April 3.
The company is asking residential and small commercial customers to sign up for its COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund, available at the FortisBC website. While applicants aren’t asked to provide documentation showing a link between their inability to cover utility bills and the pandemic, the company is asking people to check a box on the application form that says they have “lost income due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.”
FortisBC announced last week that it would not be disconnecting power for billing reasons or be applying late fees.
Under the new program, residential customers who sign up will automatically have their bills deferred to July 1 and will be asked to pay back what they owe the utility provider over the following year, without being charged interest or additional fees.
Small businesses that have shuttered will receive bill credits to offset charges that they’ve incurred since closing down. Those that are still operating will not be issued bill credits but are eligible for the 90-day payment deferral.
“Over the deferment period, FortisBC will be closely monitoring the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 to its customers and, as that period draws to a close, extend additional one-on-one support to customers who may need more assistance with repayment,” the company said in a release, adding that the deferral and repayment periods may be extended if needed.
Customers can can enrol in the relief program by visiting fortisbc.com/recoveryfund, calling FortisBC’s Customer Contact Centre or emailing COVID19Recovery@fortisbc.com.