B.C’s government and BC Hydro are extending the opportunity for companies to defer electricity bill payments for another three months to assist mining, forestry and other industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The relief comes as part of BC Hydro’s COVID-19 Relief Program announced on April 1, 2020. Eligible industrial customers with accounts in BC Hydro's Transmission Service rate category were given the opportunity to defer 50% of their electricity bill payments for the March to May 2020 billing period.
That deferral now runs until the end of August. The deferred amounts will be repaid over a future nine-month period and are subject to interest, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Bruce Ralston said.
"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," Ralston said "Our government continues to take action during these extraordinary times to help sustain industry, protect jobs and build a strong economic recovery."
"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,” Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson said.
Major industries represent about 25% of BC Hydro's domestic electricity load in British Columbia.
"Extending the opportunity to defer electricity payments for another three months will help keep the mining sector operating and British Columbians working through a time of volatile commodity prices and economic uncertainty,” Mining Association of British Columbia CEO Michael Goehring said.
The government said 26 BC Hydro industrial customers have taken advantage of the new bill deferral opportunity to date. That includes mines, pulp mills, sawmills and pellet plants - deferring more than $25 million in electricity payments from March through May.