If you look closely at your BC Hydro bill, you’ll find a new charge that you may not be aware of.
As of June 1, the B.C. Utilities Commission is allowing BC Hydro to collect an extra fee to create a so-called “customer crisis fund” that will be used to help people who can’t pay their bill.
The fee works out to about $3 per year.
Those who have fallen behind on payments can get up to $600 a year free to help catch up.
“The crisis fund is basically available to customers that are in a financial crisis, things like job loss or health crisis,” Mora Scott of BC Hydro said.
The goal is to raise around $5.3 million a year. However, a substantial amount will go to bureaucracy, at least in the fund’s first year. The start-up cost is $600,000 and annual administration costs are expected to be around $900,000 per year.
The new fee comes at a time when BC Hydro could set a new mark for electricity usage.
The utility said the recent heat wave led to a province-wide spike in demand on Monday as customers relied on fans and air conditioners to stay cool.
— With files from Ted Chernecki