COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund
We're concerned about the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on our customers and their livelihoods and we're here to help. During this challenging time, we've introduced our Customer Recovery Fund to help minimize the monthly billing impacts to those natural gas, propane and electric residential and small business customers who need it most.
For large commercial and industrial customers, please contact your key account manager to discuss your account and payment arrangements.
What is the COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund?
The Customer Recovery Fund addresses the billing concerns of residential and small business customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers who are unable to work or have lost their livelihood, and small businesses that have experienced income loss or been forced to close as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, can receive assistance from FortisBC.
We’re taking a balanced approach to ensure we support our customers that need it the most, while also considering the long-term impacts to all of our customers. We’ll closely monitor the program and impacts to customers throughout the deferment period, and the length of the program will continue to be evaluated on an ongoing basis.
If you’re a residential customer in the program, you will have your bills automatically deferred, from April 1 to June 30, 2020. When you enter the program, we’ll work with you to create an interest free repayment schedule. When you apply to the program, you will automatically be entered into a repayment plan that will be spread out over the next 12 months to help lessen the immediate financial impacts to you during this time.
If you’re a small business owner in the program, you have the option to:
- receive support in the form of bill credits to help offset the charges on your account while you’re unable to operate your business.
- defer your bill payments from April 1 to June 30, 2020. When you apply to the program, you will automatically be entered into a repayment plan that will be spread out over the next 12 months to help lessen the immediate financial impacts to you during this time.
Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for both options.
Are you eligible?
The following criteria is required for enrolment:
- Residential customers must acknowledge loss of employment, livelihood or being forced to take a voluntary leave due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Small businesses must acknowledge that they have had income loss or were forced to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the date of the business closure.
- All customers must provide their FortisBC account number(s) confirming they're a residential or small business customer.
- All customers must agree to enter into a payment arrangement for their deferred balance.
We’re always here to help so if you're not eligible for this program, we have other ways we can support you through this time.
How you can apply
You can apply for support through this program anytime between April 1 and June 30, 2020. You will still be eligible for the full three months of support regardless of the timing of your application. Note: You're not required to follow up with us. Once you've completed and submitted your application, you'll receive a confirmation email and will automatically be enroled in the program. You can apply by:
- Completing the online form, or
- Calling 1-888-292-4104 (natural gas) and 1-888-292-4105 (electricity) Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Answering your questions
We’ve provided a list of FAQs to assist in answering some of your most frequent questions regarding our Customer Recovery Fund.
The key here is that customers facing significant financial challenges who are in the Recovery Fund will not need to worry about their FortisBC bill during this difficult time.
Bill deferments provide immediate relief as well as the opportunity for repayment from the customer at a later date, with minimal impacts on all customers as a result. Bill credits, on the other hand, are a cost shared by all customers at some point in the future.
Bill credits are a good option in some cases, particularly when the impacts of the bill credits are minimal on other customers. FortisBC will be considering bill credits as part of the recovery component of the program once the repayment period begins, and overall as a province, as we understand the impacts COVID-19 has had.
As for right now the repayment period will begin in July 2020. However, we cannot predict how long the COVID-19 public health emergency will last or how deeply it will affect our customers so we may extend the deferment period if needed, which would also shift the start of the repayment and recovery period.
We're working on how the deferment will be displayed on your FortisBC bill. Regardless of how it appears, customers enroled in the Recovery Fund Program are not expected to pay their FortisBC bill from April 1 to June 30, 2020.
Yes, you can. While the deferral period is technically between April and June, customers can sign up at any time so long as the Recovery Fund is active.
No, we'll work with customers individually to determine what repayment period meets their needs. If a shorter or longer timeframe is desired or required, our customer service team will work with customers to meet their unique circumstances.
Keeping you informed
As the situation evolves, we're committed to responding to your needs and keeping you informed. Our contact centres are available to serve you, and we will post updates on our website and social media feeds.
- Supporting British Columbia during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Billing support during COVID-19
- How we're responding to COVID-19: Letter to customers from Roger Dall’Antonia, President and CEO, FortisBC
We’re always here for you
We understand the uncertainty you may be experiencing about the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts your daily life. We’re here to answer your questions and assist you: