Here's what we're doing in response to COVID-19
Last updated: May 12, 2020
As an essential service in the province with many critical assets, we're taking steps to protect our staff and facilities to ensure we're continuing to provide reliable power to our customers.
Our top priority is the safety of our workers, contractors and members of the public and we’re committed to helping our customers while ensuring our employees and facilities remain safe during challenging times.
We're continuing to monitor the situation closely and will implement new measures as the situation progresses based on information and advice provided by health authorities.
COVID-19 Relief Fund
We recognize that COVID-19 has resulted in financial hardship for many of our customers, particularly those that have experienced job loss, have had to close their businesses, or are otherwise unable to work. To support our customers, we're introducing the COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The COVID-19 Relief Fund allows eligible residential customers who have experienced job loss to receive three months of free credit on their BC Hydro bill based on their average consumption. The fund also allows eligible small businesses that needed to close due to COVID-19 to have up to three months of electricity charges waived.
For residential and commercial customers that are not eligible for our COVID-19 Relief Fund, we have the COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program available which allows you to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Customers are encouraged to call our customer service team at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to discuss bill payment options.
Residential customers facing temporary financial hardship and are unable to pay their bills due to job loss, illness, or loss of a family member may also be eligible for grants from our Customer Crisis Fund. If you meet the eligibility criteria for both, you can apply for both the Customer Crisis Fund and the COVID-19 Relief Fund.
We anticipate that the outbreak may have a financial impact on our customers if they are unable to work, or if businesses close. As a result we'll be stopping disconnections for non-payment. If you're having trouble paying your bill, please give us a call at 1 800 224 9376 to arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty.
Out of an abundance of caution, we've isolated key areas, including our control centre. To reduce exposure and face-to-face interactions, we've temporarily closed our walk-in customer service desks and indefinitely suspended all non-essential business travel, public meetings and site tours, including closing our Powerhouse at Stave Falls Visitor Centre and Campbell River Hydroelectric Facilities Discovery Centre.
Our recreation areas closed in late March due to a high concentration of visitors and the need to adhere to the provincial health order on large gatherings. We're taking a staged approach to safely reopening our recreation sites and campgrounds across the province. We've begun reopening day-use recreation sites and facilities that allow for physical distancing. Some recreation sites and campgrounds that attract larger crowds remain closed for the time being. Learn more.
Our reopening plans are being made carefully to ensure we adhere to provincial health guidelines to prioritize the safety of visitors and contractors. We're implementing new safety measures including physical distancing signage, increased cleaning, limits to the amount of visitors and parking allowed, and reduced hours of operation at some of our most popular recreation sites.
If planning a visit to our recreation sites, we're asking you to:
- Stay close to home and only visit recreation sites in your community.
- Follow physical distancing requirements outlined by the Public Health Officer.
- Bring hand sanitizer to practice safe hygiene.
- Stay home if you're sick.
We're also asking everyone to take extra precaution around bodies of water downstream of our facilities. These are active generating facilities and water levels can change quickly and without warning. Please review all safety signage and keep away from restricted areas. Learn more.
COVID-19 has created a new situation where our homes serve a variety of functions, from an office to a classroom, so we recognize the importance of minimizing planned outages. Prior to proceeding with a planned outage, we'll review it to ensure there's an imminent need for the outage to take place.
We’ve also adjusted some of our other operations related to electrical connections and outages. Learn about these changes here.
As always, our crews will continue to respond to all outages and restore power as soon as possible. We ask that if you see our crews and contractors out in the field, please respect social distancing measures and maintain a physical distance of at least two metres.
Some customers have reported receiving calls threatening disconnection from fake BC Hydro employees. We’ve stopped disconnections during the COVID-19 pandemic and we ask that you report these fraudulent calls to your local police department.
Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, contractors and members of the public. We have been monitoring COVID-19 closely and have been taking appropriate action as the situation evolves. Please find the latest updates here.
Our EV charging network continues to operate, but we're making some temporary changes based on the evolving COVID-19 situation.
- Please charge at home if possible – this helps reduces risk of spread at public stations
- 24/7 phone support still available – we're currently still offering 24/7 support when you need it
- Keep physical distance from BC Hydro staff – if you see a BC Hydro team member at a station, maintain a physical distance of 10 metres if possible
- Bring your own wipes or gloves – we're unable to wipe down our stations across the province. Use your own wipes or gloves if you're not able to wash your hands before and after use.
- Repairs may be delayed – stations that require repairs may be delayed due to prioritization of other critical infrastructure, so please check PlugShare ahead of time
- Maintain physical distance from other EV drivers – please follow advice from provincial health authorities and maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from other drivers at the stations
- Some stations may close – our stations in national parks and some municipal stations may have their access closed due to local, provincial or national restrictions. Check PlugShare ahead of time.
Get the latest on our EV charging network at ev.bchydro.com.