March 20, 2020
Sent via email Letter L-13-20
To: All Utilities regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission
Re: COVID-19 – Direction from the British Columbia Utilities Commission
The global pandemic COVID-19 (Pandemic) is moving quickly and its impact on British Columbians is growing. In response to the current Pandemic and the State of Emergency declared in British Columbia, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has moved to a virtual office and all of our operations are currently being conducted remotely. The BCUC is doing what it can to be part of the solution.
The BCUC understands that this Pandemic greatly impacts utility customers across British Columbia. As such, given these very difficult circumstances, all BCUC regulated public utilities are directed to suspend any customer disconnections for matters other than safety, for a minimum of 90 days from the date of this letter. The 90-day period could be further extended at the discretion of the BCUC.
We know this is a difficult time for customers and utilities alike and we are prepared to take immediate action to review utility requests to facilitate flexibility, particularly with respect to billing and collection processes as customers may be experiencing financial challenges due to the Pandemic.
In addition, within the next two weeks, the BCUC will contact each regulated utility to better understand:
• how this Pandemic will impact billing and collection processes;
• the intentions of utilities to seek tariff relief; and
• the impact this Pandemic will have on utility financial viability in the foreseeable future.
As the Pandemic continues to evolve, the BCUC will monitor the situation closely and provide updates when possible. We encourage all utilities regulated by the BCUC to continue to do the same.
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