David Eby is handing out cash on his first day on the job.
The new B.C. premier announced on Friday morning families and small businesses in B.C. will get a one-time cost of living credit on their BC Hydro bill this fall, and a new B.C. Affordability Credit in January.
Eby focused on the issue of affordability in his speech following being sworn in as B.C.’s 37th premier.
A BC Hydro bill credit of $100 will be provided to all eligible residential and commercial electricity customers, including those who receive their electricity service indirectly from BC Hydro through FortisBC or a municipal utility.
“People and small businesses across B.C. are feeling the squeeze of global inflation,” Eby said.
“It’s a time when people need their government to continue to be there for them. That’s why we’re focused on helping people most impacted by the rising costs we’re seeing around the world – giving people a bit of extra credit, especially at a time of year when expenses can be quick to add up.”
Eby takes over as premier of the province with a growing number of concerns piling up on his plate.
Economists in the province have warned of turbulent economic times ahead due to global economic pressures.
The one-time $100 cost of living credit works out to approximately one month of electricity for a family living in a detached home or more than two months of electricity for a family living in an apartment.
Commercial ratepayers, including small and medium businesses like restaurants and tourism operators, will receive a one-time bill credit averaging $500.
The amount will be based on their prior year’s electricity consumption.
British Columbians will have the credit automatically applied to their electricity accounts.
BC Hydro customers will have the credit applied in early December. Customers of FortisBC and municipal utilities will likely begin to see their bill credits applied early in the new year.
The B.C. Affordability Credit is separate and will be based on income.
Eligible people and families will automatically receive the new credit through the Canada Revenue Agency, the same way the enhanced Climate Action Tax Credit was received in October.
An eligible person making an income of up to $36,901 will receive the maximum BC Affordability Credit with the credit fully phasing out at $79,376.
An eligible family of four with a household income of $43,051 will get the maximum amount, with the credit fully phasing out by $150,051.
This additional support means a family of four can receive up to an additional $410 in early January 2023 to help offset some of the added costs people are facing.
“Look for B.C.’s new Affordability Credit in your bank account in January 2023,” Eby said.
“We know it won’t cover all the bills, but we hope the little bit extra helps folks out this winter.”
Eby’s swearing-in marks a change at the premier’s office but not a shift in focus.
The premier expects to continue on with former premier John Horgan’s mandate with a focus on affordability issues.
In a ceremony held in the Musqueam Community Centre, Eby made a commitment to make meaningful improvements in the lives of British Columbians and continue work with First Nations communities.
The ceremony was the first-ever swearing-in hosted by a First Nation in British Columbia.
“British Columbia is a wonderful place to call home,” Eby said.
“At the same time, people are feeling uncertain about the future and worried about their families. I’m proud of the work done by John Horgan and our government to put people first. And there’s so much more to do. I’m ready to get to work with my team to deliver results that people will be able to see and feel in their lives and in their communities.”