Home Government Government of BC Cost of living efforts: BC Hydro bill credit & BC Affordability Credit

Cost of living efforts: BC Hydro bill credit & BC Affordability Credit

BC Hydro credit will be applied to residential bills in December. | BC Affordability Credit will come in January via CRA.

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Friday November 18, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated November 19, 2022]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends


With global inflation still driving costs up, families and small businesses in BC will get a one-time cost-of-living credit on their BC Hydro bill in December, and a new BC Affordability Credit in January.

This was announced by Premier David Eby during his swearing-in speech in Vancouver today, and further itemized in a joint news release from the Office of the Premier, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

Feeling the squeeze of inflation:

“People and small businesses across BC are feeling the squeeze of global inflation,” said Premier David Eby.

premier, david eby
Premier David Eby announced two new cost of living credits, Nov 18, 2022. [Livestream]

“It’s a time when people need their government to continue to be there for them. That’s why we’re focused on helping people most impacted by the rising costs we’re seeing around the world – giving people a bit of extra credit, especially at a time of year when expenses can be quick to add up.”

affordability credit, bc govt

Inflation has been increasing for over a year, particularly the cost of food and gasoline at the pump. The Bank of Canada keeps increasing their benchmark rate which in turn is increasing the cost of most things especially where any borrowing or credit is involved (e.g. mortgages, bank loans, lines of credit, credit cards).

Persistent inflation is considered to be largely due to global factors such as supply chain interruptions resulting from the war in Ukraine and COVID-zero impacts on production in China. That comes on top of the supply chain disruptions that were set in motion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residential and business BC Hydro credit:

A BC Hydro bill credit will be provided to all eligible residential and commercial electricity customers, including those who receive their electricity service from FortisBC or a municipal utility.

bc hydro

The one-time $100 cost-of-living credit amounts to approximately one month of electricity for a family living in a detached home, or more than two months of electricity for a family living in an apartment.

Commercial ratepayers, including small and medium businesses, such as restaurants and tourism operators, will receive a one-time bill credit for an average of $500.The precise amount is based on their prior year electricity consumption.

money back, bc gov

“The cost-of-living credit will help offset household expenses during the months ahead when bills generally start to increase due to higher energy use due to cooler weather,” said the BC Government today in today’s news release.

The credit will apply automatically to electricity bills.

Email to BC Hydro customers:

In an email to BC Hydro customers, the utility used the subject line: “Government of B.C. announces $100 bill credit”, and made it clear that it’s not the utility’s credit, but that of the government.

bc hydro, email, customers
Email from BC Hydro about $100 government credit being applied to upcoming customer billings. [November 18, 2022]

The credit is limited to one credit per account holder.

For customers on pre-authorized payment plans, their next payment amount will be reduced by $100 to reflect the credit, explained BC Hydro in their email to customers.

Customers must have an active account as of December 4, 2022 in order to be eligible for the credit.

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BC Hydro experienced increased revenues:

BC Hydro is able to provide a cost-of-living credit due to market conditions that resulted in increased trade and domestic revenues.

This is an example of government influencing its policy upon a crown corporation toward the betterment of all people, not just the corporation. Under the BC Liberals years ago, aspects of BC Hydro were privatized (in that third party power-generators can receive revenue).

BC Hydro is a provincial Crown corporation owned by the government and people of British Columbia. The utility generates and delivers electricity to 95% of the population of BC and serve over five million people.

BC Hydro rates decreased by 1.4% on April 1, 2022.

BC Hydro credit in early December 2022:

BC Hydro customers will have the credit applied in early December. Customers of FortisBC and municipal utilities are likely to see their bill credits applied early in the new year, said the BC Government today.

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BC Affordability Credit in January 2023:

Eligible individuals and families will automatically receive the new BC Affordability Credit through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the same way the enhanced Climate Action Tax Credit was received in October.

  • An eligible person with an income of up to $36,901 will receive the maximum BC Affordability Credit with the credit fully phasing out at $79,376. An eligible family of four with a household income of $43,051 will get the maximum amount, with the credit fully phasing out at $150,051.
  • This additional support means a family of four can receive as much as $410 in early January 2023 to help offset added costs.

“Look for B.C.’s new Affordability Credit in your bank account in January 2023,” said Eby. “We know it won’t cover all the bills, but we hope the little bit extra helps folks out this winter.”

Other temporary cost-of-living supports:

Mitzi Dean, MLA, Esquimalt-Metchosin, Colwood
Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin)

Other temporary cost-of-living supports introduced this year include:

  • an ICBC rebate in the summer;
  • helping families in need with back-to-school expenses;
  • an enhanced Climate Action Tax Credit in October that provided as much as an additional $410 for a family with two children;
  • increased BC Family Benefit payments in January, February and March 2023 with the family benefit increasing as much as $58.33 per child for each month, meaning a family with two children will receive as much as $350 from this top-up; and
  • capping rent increases below inflation at 2% for 2023.

Starting in December 2022, parents in British Columbia will save as much as an additional $550 per month for each child they have in participating licensed child care centres.

Ministry comments:

Additional quotes were provided in today’s news release:

  • “Many people are struggling to manage expenses in the face of rising prices for food, fuel and other goods and services they rely upon. This BC Hydro cost-of-living credit will help offset energy bills for B.C. households and businesses.” ~ Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
  • “These credits are the next steps in a series of targeted cost-of-living measures we’re using to get money into the pockets of people who need it most right now. We’ll continue to invest in ways to reduce costs for people, strengthen services folks count on, and build a stronger B.C. for everyone.” ~ Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance

===== Government links:

New and existing support measures for B.C. residents

Enhancements to the BC Family Benefit

BC Affordability Credit and the Climate Action Tax Credit

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