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B.C. Hydro customers in British Columbia will receive a credit on their electricity bills starting in April

Who can get this credit? How can you receive it? Here's what you should understand

In a month when expenses – including the carbon tax, beer and alcohol, and B.C. Ferries fares – are rising, going uphere is some positive news.

On April 1, British Columbians will start saving on their energy bills with the province's new electricity affordability credit, which was introduced in the February budget.

B.C. Hydro mentioned that the average household will save $100 over the year, while the average commercial business will save about $400 due to the credit.

Although electricity bills are increasing by 2.3% this year as approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission, the credit is expected to offset this increase, costing the provincial government $370 million.

Who qualifies for the credit?

Most B.C. Hydro residential customers with an active account as of March 31, 2024, will receive the credit.

Customers with multiple B.C. Hydro accounts will receive the credit for each account.

How much will I receive?

The credit amount is based on your actual electricity usage between April 1, 2023, and March 31, 2024 – specifically, your Step 1 energy charges.

B.C. Hydro stated that the credit will be calculated by multiplying your Step 1 usage by 1.66 cents per kWh. For most households, this will result in a $100 credit.

The amount may be lower if your usage is below the residential average, or if you opened your B.C. Hydro account after April 1, 2023. In that case, your credit will be based on the period from when you opened your account until March 31, 2024.

What about business customers?

The credit also applies to businesses. B.C. Hydro mentioned that the average business customer will receive a credit of up to 4.6% of their consumption, which equals $400 per year.

How do I receive the credit?

You do not need to apply for the credit.

The credit will automatically appear on your bill over the next year, starting with the first bill after April 15. Customers on monthly billing will receive the credit in 12 installments, while bi-monthly billing customers will receive it in six installments.

I received a text message from B.C. Hydro offering a credit or rebate. Is it genuine?

B.C. Hydro emphasized that customers do not need to take any action to receive the electricity affordability credit.

It cautioned customers about scams, such as text messages and emails claiming to offer a B.C. Hydro credit, refund, or rebate. If you receive a text message or email, you can contact B.C. Hydro customer service at 1-800-224-9376 for clarification.

Why can't I just receive a rebate check?

B.C. Hydro stated that applying bill credits is more administratively efficient.

I do not receive my electricity from B.C. Hydro. Am I still eligible?

Yes. The provincial government has arranged agreements with non-B.C. Hydro utilities to ensure their customers receive similar credits.

Customers of FortisBC in the southern Interior from the U.S.-Canada border up to Kelowna and the west Kootenays, as well as households in New Westminster, Penticton, Summerland, Grand Forks, and Nelson who receive their electricity from their municipality, should expect to receive the electricity affordability credit.

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