Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Government will help low-income families manage electricity costs

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Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Government will help low-income families manage electricity costs

Media Contacts
Suntanu Dalal
Media Relations
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
250 952-0628
Media Contacts
Suntanu Dalal
Media Relations
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
250 952-0628

Backgrounders

Affordability measures will help households manage higher winter electricity bills

For the many British Columbians faced with the balancing act of managing their household finances, the winter season can be especially challenging. Cooler-than-average temperatures lead to higher-than-average electricity bills, especially for those using electric heat (about 40% of British Columbians).

In December 2017, about 90,000 residential customers paid their BC Hydro bill late. Since 2010, an average of between 10% and 15% of customers have paid their bills late each month.

On Feb. 9, 2018, BC Hydro announced enhanced measures to help its customers manage electricity costs:

Winter Payment Plan:

  • BC Hydro is launching the Winter Payment Plan, giving customers the option to spread bill payments over a six-month period.
  • The winter billing period runs from Dec. 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018.
  • This plan was successfully piloted last winter, with more than 4,000 customers signing up.
  • Customers who would like participate this year can call 1 800 BCHYDRO to set up individual payment arrangements.

Low-income conservation programs:

  • Over the next three years, BC Hydro will spend $10 million – an increase of $2.2 million – on low-income conservation programs to help customers in need.
  • These programs include:
    • The Energy Conservation Assistance Program, in partnership with FortisBC, provides free energy assessments and energy-saving products, such as new ENERGY STAR refrigerators and insulation upgrades. Over 13,000 customers have participated, including more than 3,600 First Nations’ homes in 90 communities.
    • Energy-savings kits, which include a number of simple, easy-to-install products, such as energy-efficient LED light bulbs and weather stripping, have been distributed to more than 100,000 customers since 2008. These kits has resulted in over $4 million in annual electricity cost savings to BC Hydro’s low-income customers.
    • More than 20% of BC Hydro’s residential customers qualify for low-income assistance. This is the result of increasing the income point for low-income qualification from $44,000 to $57,000.

BC Hydro offers existing payment options, conservation programs and online tools that have helped hundreds of thousands of customers reduce their electricity use and save on their bills, including:

Equal Payment Plan:

  • BC Hydro offers an Equal Payment Plan that can be set up anytime.
  • The plan takes usage from the most-recent 12 months and divides it into equal monthly payments, helping to make monthly budgeting easier.
  • Over 440,000 BC Hydro customers are on an Equal Payment Plan.
  • Customers can set up a plan by calling 1 800 BCHYDRO.

Online electricity tracking tools:

  • Customers can set up an online MyHydro account at bchydro.com and access free electricity tracking tools to get a better understanding of how they are using electricity and look for ways to save.
  • These tools allow customers to see their electricity use per hour, and to compare their electricity use:
    • to similar homes nearby;
    • to last year’s use; and
    • to the average outside temperature.

Team Power Smart:

  • Customers can join Team Power Smart and start the Reduction Challenge, committing to reducing their household's electricity use by 10% over the next 12 months.
  • After 365 days, customers will receive a $50 reward if they are successful in meeting their goal.
  • Over 135,000 customers are participating in Team Power Smart.
Media Contacts
Suntanu Dalal
Media Relations
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
250 952-0628
Media Relations
BC Hydro
604 928-6468

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