BC Hydro introduces winter bill help, funding for low income programs
VANCOUVER — BC Hydro is activating its Winter Payment Plan to help its customers manage winter bill payments, along with $10 million in funding to support its low income customers, due to continued colder than average temperatures.
“Cold temperatures across the province drive-up electricity usage, resulting in higher BC Hydro bills that can be difficult for families to manage alongside other household expenses,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro’s President & Chief Operating Officer. “Our meteorologists are predicting colder than average temperatures will continue over the next of couple of months and we want to provide customers with help to manage their payments.”
After a successful pilot last year, BC Hydro is reintroducing its Winter Payment Plan to help customers manage higher winter bills. The plan provides customers the option to spread winter bill payments over a six-month period. The winter billing period runs from Dec. 1, 2017 to Mar. 31, 2018. Customers who would like participate can call 1–800–BCHYDRO.
BC Hydro is also increasing funding for its low income conservation programs by $2.2 million for a total of $10 million over the next three years. The low income programs provide eligible customers with energy savings kits – which include a number of simple, easy-to-install products such as energy-efficient LED light bulbs and weather stripping. More than 100,000 kits have been distributed since 2008, delivering over $4 million dollars in annual electricity cost savings to BC Hydro’s income-qualifying customers.
Cold temperatures drive electricity demand and bills higher
After a colder than usual December and return of cold air to many regions late January into early February, BC Hydro’s meteorologists are predicting the next couple of months will likely continue to bring below average temperatures. Colder temperatures lead to higher electricity bills – especially for those using electric heat. Residential energy consumption increases, on average, by 88 per cent in the colder, darker months – late fall and winter.
This winter got off to a cold start in early November with Kelowna, Vernon, Salmon Arm, Princeton, Penticton, Campbell River, Tofino, Whistler and Hope breaking cold temperature records. Cold weather in the second half of December 2017 led to peak electricity demand above the previous 10-year average.
BC Hydro Media Relations
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