BC Hydro offers free AC units to lower-income, vulnerable customers

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RELATED VIDEO: The distribution of free air conditioning units by BC Hydro is under the microscope as a heat wave looms. The new government program aimed at helping those vulnerable to indoor heat has a goal of 3,000. But as Richard Zussman reports, just a few hundred units have been installed. – Aug 11, 2023

British Columbians can apply for a free portable air conditioning unit from BC Hydro.

BC Hydro announced on Thursday that low-income and vulnerable customers are being encouraged to apply to receive the unit with warmer temperatures on the way in the coming months.

It’s the second year of a three-year program funded by the province, where 4,400 units have already been installed.

BC Hydro said that over the past few years, the use of air conditioning in homes has increased by 20 per cent, a trend that is expected to continue. More than half of British Columbians are now cooling their homes with AC units in the summer.

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“While air conditioning use has increased significantly across B.C., it is not accessible for everyone, particularly low-income and vulnerable residents,” BC Hydro staff said in a release.

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“To bridge the AC affordability gap, last summer the Government of B.C. announced a three-year program with $10 million in funding for BC Hydro to install 8,000 free portable air conditioning units in the homes of British Columbians that need them the most.”

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The program is available year-round and customers who apply during the winter and fall will have their evaluations completed and receive their unit sooner than during warmer months.

Homeowners can also self-install their units, which may help them receive a unit quicker, especially during summertime.

Those who would like to apply can do so online.

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