Wildfire Evacuee Assistance Program update
Bill credits, payment plans were available to residential and commercial customers affected by wildfires
Updated January 5, 2018
We've been getting some inquiries into the Wildfire Evacuee Assistance Program, which offered bill credits and flexible payment plans to support residential and commercial customers affected by evacuation orders and alerts last summer.
The credit program has since closed, and was only available for customers affected by wildfire evacuations between July and September 2017.
During the unprecedented wildfires that hit central and southern Interior regions, many residents and businesses were evacuated and power outages affected about 7,000 customers.
Bill credits and payment plans
This past wildfire season was a challenging and emotional time for many of our customers. When the safety of your family is at stake, nothing is more important – and we worked to ensure that your BC Hydro bill didn't add to concerns.
To help our customers, we implemented a Wildfire Evacuee Assistance Program, offering bill credits and flexible payment plans to support residential and commercial customers affected by evacuation orders and alerts.
Automatic bill credits for residential or commercial customers under an evacuation order
We're working with local authorities to identify residential and commercial customers located in evacuation areas and will apply an automatic credit to their account for the electricity consumed during the period they are out of their home or business due to evacuation order.
You don’t need to call us to tell us about your evacuation. The credit will be automatically applied to your next bill.
For residential customers whose property was unfortunately destroyed as a result of the wildfires, we will waive the electricity charges for the entire billing period, including for electricity use prior to the fire.
How the credit was calculated
We used information and data from emergency officials to help us determine evacuation dates and evacuation regional borders. However, we understand the situation in affected communities was dynamic and that these details may have changed.
If you think there is a discrepancy with your evacuation dates, or if you should have received a bill credit and didn’t, please contact our customer team at 1 800 224 9376.
The bill credits were based on the actual usage measured by your electricity meter during the evacuation duration. For most customers, electricity consumption would decrease during an evacuation order, compared to when the home is inhabited.
For customers with no electric consumption during the evacuation period BC Hydro issued a minimum $5 bill credit.
Questions about bill credits and email notifications: August 22 update
Some customers eligible for the Wildfire Evacuee Assistance Program may have received an email in mid-August stating they received a bill credit in error.
In the wake of that error, we offered reassurance to customers that the billing email error would not affect any credits for the Wildfire Evacuee program. Wildfire credits started to be issued in mid-August and were to be applied to the next bill as part of the regular billing cycle.
The emails referenced had an IT glitch and said credit where it should have said balance - these are unrelated to the wildfire assistance program and Wildfire Evacuee Assistance credits were still applied for the customers that qualify.
Eligible customers were to receive a credit for their electricity use for the duration of the evacuation order in their area. If you have any questions about your bill, please give us a shout at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) and our customer team can help.
Determining whether you had an outage, and for how long
Not all areas under an evacuation order experienced power outages. If the digital clocks in your home weren't blinking, then you likely didn’t have a power outage. We understand that there was no extended power outage in the City of Williams Lake.
Your insurance company may request additional information about power outages in support of your insurance claim. Consider supporting your claim with individual electricity-use data you have access to online through MyHydro.
If you already have a MyHydro account, you can log in to your account at bchydro.com and download your detailed consumption data. If you don't have a MyHydro account, it will only take a few minutes to sign up on bchydro.com.
Please note that, because some BC Hydro equipment may have been lost in the wildfires, electricity use data may not be immediately available for all impacted customers. Also note that if your meter is manually read, data wouldn't have been available until we were able to read your meter.