Non-payment disconnections in winter

We understand that sometimes it can be hard to pay your bills. To help everyone in B.C. stay warm this winter, we’re testing the practice of postponing non-payment disconnections for our residential customers when the weather is coldest.

Also, if you're a residential customer facing a higher than expected winter bill, give our customer team a call at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376). You're eligible for a winter payment plan program that will allow you to make regular payments on the amount owing over six months.  

Here's how we're handling winter disconnections in different parts of B.C.

Lower Mainland & Vancouver Island

From November 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, you won’t be disconnected for non-payment if the forecasted daily average temperature for the next 24 hours is below 0 degrees Celsius. When it warms up, you’ll be disconnected if you still haven’t paid your bill or made a payment arrangement with us.

Rest of B.C.

If you live outside the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, you won’t be disconnected for non-payment between November 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017. If you don’t pay your bill, you’ll still continue to receive payment notices, late payment charges and could be assessed a security deposit. Disconnections for non-payment will start again on April 1, 2017. If you are disconnected, you’ll have to pay the full outstanding balance to resume your electricity service.

What you can do to keep your costs down

Use only the electricity you need and pay whatever you can to avoid unnecessary debt and late payment charges. We have information and tools online to help you manage and monitor your electricity use. To view and manage your account online, you can create a profile and link your account at bchydro.com/login.

If you want to set up payment arrangements, or need any other help from us, please call us at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., or Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 

Frequently asked questions

Keeping rates affordable and predictable benefits all of our customers. When customers don’t pay their bills, we incur costs that are passed on to all customers by way of rate increases. When accounts are past due, we attempt to contact customers by mail, email or phone calls to pay the outstanding balance. However, if the outstanding balance is not paid in full or a payment arrangement is not made with us, we have no choice but to disconnect service to protect other customers from higher costs.

We understand that not having electricity service, especially in the winter months when the weather is colder, may cause hardships. To help customers, we’ve proposed delaying disconnections in the winter months for customers who have difficulties paying.

The reason we've asked to make this a pilot is that by delaying disconnections, the account balance owing will increase due to continued electricity usage and accumulated late payment charges. The outstanding balance will have to be paid and could be more difficult to manage for some customers by the time the moratorium ends.

In addition, there may also be an increased burden for all other customers, including but not limited to the costs of writing off any outstanding balances that may not be collected. Any increased costs would eventually be reflected in the rates we charge.

The Winter Disconnection Moratorium Pilot will test these tradeoffs and we will be reviewing the results after this winter to determine if this was a good idea that should be continued.

All residential customers are eligible. Disconnections will be delayed, either based on temperature or for the entire winter, depending on where you live.

Business customers that are past due for non-payment and service locations that are vacant because no one has signed-up for electricity service (e.g. no BC Hydro account) will still be disconnected.

No. If your unpaid balance is over $30, a late payment charge of 1.5% per month (19.56% per year) of your entire outstanding balance will still be added to your account.

The Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are consistently warmer than the rest of B.C. and do not tend to have extended periods of colder weather that require increased electricity usage for heating.

For the purposes of the Winter Disconnection Moratorium Pilot, the Lower Mainland area covers Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, the North Shore (including Whistler and Pemberton) and Fraser Valley (including Chilliwack, and Hope). The Vancouver Island area includes Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands.

See a complete map [PDF, 651 KB].

Once the temperature reaches 0 degrees Celsius and the average temperature is forecasted to be 0 degrees Celsius or above for the next 24 hours, your account will be disconnected if the outstanding balance has not been paid in full.

We want to ensure you are aware of the status of your account so that you can make informed decisions. Even though you may not be disconnected for non-payment from November 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, your account's balance owing will continue to accumulate, is still subject to late payment charges and could be charged a security deposit.

If the overdue balance hasn't been paid by April 1, 2017 and you have not contacted us to discuss a payment arrangement, your account may be disconnected without further notice.

No. If you haven't paid your overdue balance, you may be disconnected without further notice.

No. Payment of the overdue balance must be paid before your account can be reconnected.

All residential customers are eligible to set up winter bill payment arrangements to make regular payments over a six-month period for winter bills from November 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017. Call our customer team to make arrangements at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376). Learn more