VANCOUVER – BC Hydro today introduced a Wildfire Evacuee Assistance Program that will provide bill credits to customers who have been evacuated due to the wildfires in the Central and Southern Interior. Over the past week, wildfires in the region have led to evacuations in several communities.
“We know many of our customers had to leave their homes quickly to get to safety,” said Jessica McDonald, BC Hydro’s president and CEO. “The last thing anyone is thinking about in a situation like that is turning off lights, electronics and appliances. We hope our Wildfire Evacuee Assistance Program will provide some financial relief during this challenging time.”
BC Hydro is working with local authorities to identify residential and commercial customers located in evacuation areas and will apply an automatic credit to their account for the electricity consumed during the period they are out of their home due to evacuation order.
In addition to providing this credit, BC Hydro will work with customers who have been evacuated or placed on evacuation alert to defer bill payments, waive late payment charges and set-up a flexible payment plan. Customers are encouraged to call BC Hydro’s customer team at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) for more information
The wildfires have caused power outages to about 7,000 customers as well as significant damage to the BC Hydro’s system, including damage to 210 power poles, 93 cross-arms, 115 spans of wire and 33 transformers. About 100 BC Hydro crews, including crews from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, have been working around the clock to repair and replace equipment.
The communities hardest hit by power outages are Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House. About 170 customers remain without power as of Friday morning. Access to some areas is still limited due fire activity and heavy smoke.