Frequently asked questions
We've compiled common questions related to our COVID-19 Relief Fund for residential customers. We'll continue to add to this list as needed.
Eligibility and how to apply
We know it can be challenging to show that you've stopped working due to COVID-19, which is why we're striving to be flexible in what we accept, while also ensuring the program is serving British Columbians as intended.
As part of the application, you need to upload a document that proves you're eligible for the program. Your name must be visible in the document.
We're accepting the following documents as proof, as long as they clearly indicate your name and that COVID-19 is the reason you've stopped working:
- Letter of termination or layoff from your employer which indicates that the reason for the change in your employment status is due to COVID-19
- Approval for Employment Insurance
- Approval for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
- Record of employment (view example [PDF, 128 KB]) or notice of termination
- Supporting document for your Canada Emergency Response Benefit approval, such as your bank statement showing the CERB deposit
If you were working in an industry that's been ordered to close by the Provincial Health Officer (e.g. personal service like a hair salon or a massage clinic), the document you upload could be proof that you were employed in that industry (e.g. pay stub, business card, letter from employer).
It may be necessary to combine more than one proof of eligibility document in the same file prior to uploading.
If you've stopped working in order to care for kids who are home due to school or daycare closure, please use one of the eligible documents above as your proof of eligibility (e.g. approval for Employment Insurance, CERB or B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers).
We may ask you to provide more information before applying a credit to your account. To avoid delays, please make sure the documentation clearly indicates your name or the name of your spouse/partner.
We will update our processes as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides more information.
Only the main residential account holder can apply to receive the bill credit.
If you're not the account holder (for example, a tenant who pays a landlord for the BC Hydro bill in the landlord's name), you aren't eligible to apply.
However, you can apply on behalf of another qualified account holder if you're acting as their authorized representative (e.g. assisting an elderly parent).
There is a maximum of one COVID-19 Relief Fund bill credit per household.
You can apply for both if you meet the eligibility criteria for each.
Generally, if you're not working due to COVID-19, and if your account is past due, you can apply for both. Learn about the Customer Crisis Fund.
Self-employed customers who aren't currently earning income due to COVID-19 are eligible. If you've applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), please take a photo of your bank statement, ensuring your name and the CERB deposit are included, and upload the document when you apply for our COVID-19 Relief Fund.
If you own or were employed by a business that was ordered to close by the Provincial Health Officer, please attach a copy of your business card or business license as proof of eligibility when you apply.
The COVID-19 Relief Fund was developed to support our existing customers during these challenging times. If you're a new BC Hydro customer and have fallen behind on your BC Hydro bills, there are a number of payment plan options available.
Credit amounts and payment
The bill credit will be equal to three times your average monthly electricity bill for the Basic Charge, Energy Charge and Customer Crisis Fund Rate Rider, using BC Hydro's residential electricity rates that came into effect April 1, 2020.
We will calculate the value of the Energy Charge using the average monthly electricity consumption between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 for the account associated with the application. If you haven't been at your current residence for 12 months, the calculation may also include average consumption data for a similar type of dwelling in your region.
If your application is approved, the bill credit will be for equal to three times the average monthly electricity bill for your account.
Due to the high volume of applications received, it may take up to four weeks to process your application. However, we will do our best to process applications quickly to get the relief out to those who need it. We'll contact you by email once we've made a decision or if we require any additional information.
Applying online is the fastest way to have your application reviewed.
If you have a balance owing after the bill credit is applied, that amount is still due.
If your application is approved, the amount will be applied directly to your BC Hydro account.
You don't need to pay it back.
Any credit remaining on your account will be automatically applied to your next BC Hydro bill.
If you move, we will transfer the balance if you have another active account.
If you terminate your service and don't open a new account, then any remaining credit that resulted from the grant will be returned to BC Hydro.
No, you aren't required to report the COVID-19 Relief Fund bill credit as income on your T1 or T2 income tax return.
Processing applications and ineligible customers
If you have additional information, or if your circumstances have changed, please reapply.
If you believe that your COVID-19 Relief Fund application was denied in error, contact us at 1 800 BC HYDRO (1 800 224 9376). We're available Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
An audit is a check that we do on a small number of successful applications, where we request documentation to verify information that was provided on the application form. The audit process helps to reduce fraudulent applications so that the program funding is available to the people who need it. Applications are selected for an audit through an anonymous, random process.
During the audit process, we may request documents that verify the information you provided on your application form such as a copy of an application for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or employment insurance benefits. The type of documentation that we request will depend on your specific situation.
Your application may be selected for a random audit anytime for 12 months (1 year) after you receive a grant. Please retain any documentation that you need to support your application for 12 months (1 year). If you don't wish to provide the requested information, we will need to reverse the grant amount. If you no longer have access to the documentation required, or it's insufficient, we'll discuss other options with you to verify your application.