Industries impacted by COVID-19, such as mining and forestry, will be getting an extension from the Province and BC Hydro to defer electricity bill payments by an additional three months.

BC Hydro’s COVID-19 Relief Program was announced back on April 1st, allowing all eligible industries to defer 50% of their electricity bill payments from the March to May 2020 billing period. The deferrals were for industries in BC Hydro’s Transmission Service rate categories 1823 and 1828.

“Thousands of people throughout our province rely on good, family-supporting jobs created by the mining sector, which continues to feel the impacts of lower demand for its products and depressed commodity prices due to COVID-19,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “Our government continues to take action during these extraordinary times to help sustain industry, protect jobs and build a strong economic recovery.”

The deferral is now being extended to the end of August 2020 for the eligible industries. The B.C. Government said the amounts will be repaid over a nine-month period in the future and will be subject to interest.

“Extending the deferral of BC Hydro payments builds on other measures – such as the deferral of stumpage fees – we’ve taken to address the specific COVID-19 related challenges industry has raised in our discussions,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Extending the deferral of BC Hydro payments may allow some companies to resume operations sooner rather than later when we get through the situation we’re in now, or it may keep others running without disruption.”

The B.C. Government said major industries use about 25% of BC Hydro’s electricity load in the province. According to the B.C. Government, the deferral program retains load and revenues, that if they were lost, it would significantly impact all ratepayers with BC Hydro.

$5-billion has been dedicated in the B.C. Government’s COVID-19 Action Plan, including $1.8-billion in financial support for businesses and individuals, $1.7-billion for investments into critical services, and $1.5-billion for economic recovery.