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B.C. Hydro electricity credit: Here’s how much you’ll get and when

Who is eligible for this credit? How do you get it? Here’s what you need to know

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In a month when costs — from the carbon tax and beer and alcohol to B.C. Ferries fares — are going up, here is some good news.

Starting April 1, British Columbians will get a break on their energy bills with the province’s new electricity affordability credit, which was announced in the budget in February, kicking in.

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B.C. Hydro said the credit means the average household will get a $100 savings over the year, while the average business will save about $400.

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While electricity bills are going up this year with a planned 2.3 per cent increase already approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission, that approximately $2 a month increase will be more than offset by the credit, which is expected to cost the provincial government $370 million.

Who is eligible for the credit? 

Most B.C. Hydro residential customers will get the credit if they have an active account as of March 31, 2024.

Customers with more than one account with B.C. Hydro will get the credit on each account.

How much would I get?

The credit amount is based on your actual electricity consumption between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024 — specifically, your Step 1 energy charges.

Your Step 1 usage will be multiplied by 1.66 cents per kWh to calculate the total credit amount, said B.C. Hydro. For most households, this would translate to a $100 credit.

The amount could be less if you use less than the average of all residential customers, or if you opened your B.C. Hydro account after April 1, 2023. In that case, your credit will be calculated based on the date you opened your account through March 31, 2024.

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What about business customers? 

The credit also applies to businesses. B.C. Hydro said the average business customer will get a credit of up to 4.6 per cent of their consumption, which calculates to $400 a year.

How do I get the credit? 

You don’t have to apply for the credit.

It will automatically show up on your bill over the next year starting with the first bill after April 15. Customers on monthly billing will get the credit in 12 instalments; customers on bi-monthly billing will get the credit in six instalments.

I got a text message from B.C. Hydro offering a credit or rebate. Is it legit? 

B.C. Hydro stressed that customers do not have to do anything to get the electricity affordability credit.

It warned customers about scams, including text messages and emails claiming to offer a B.C. Hydro credit, refund or rebate. If you receive a text message or email, you can contact B.C. Hydro customer service at 1-800-224-9376 to clarify.

Why can’t I just get a rebate cheque? 

B.C. Hydro said applying bill credits is more efficient administratively.

I don’t get my electricity through B.C. Hydro. Am I still eligible?

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Yes. The provincial government said it has entered into agreement with non-B.C. Hydro utilities to make sure their customers get comparable credits.

FortisBC electricity customers in the southern Interior from the U.S.-Canada border up to Kelowna and the West Kootenays should expect to receive the electricity affordable credit, as should households in New Westminster, Penticton, Summerland, Grand Forks and Nelson, who get their electricity from their municipality.

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