BC Hydro crews assess damage in Williams Lake Saturday (Twitter - @BCHydro)

BC Hydro to give credit evacuees

A new assistance program will cover the costs of any electricity consumed while evacuated

BC Hydro will be offering bill credits to customers who have been evacuated due to wildfires burning across the central and southern Interior.

A new wildfire evacuee assistance program will cover the costs of any electricity consumed during the period a resident is out of their home. It’ll show up as an automatic credit.

In addition to providing this credit, BC Hydro will work with customers who have been evacuated or placed on evacuation alert to defer bill payments, waive late payment charges and set-up a flexible payment plan.

“We know many of our customers had to leave their homes quickly to get to safety,” BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald said in a news release.

“The last thing anyone is thinking about in a situation like that is turning off lights, electronics and appliances. We hope our Wildfire Evacuee Assistance Program will provide some financial relief during this challenging time.”

The wildfires have caused power outages to about 7,000 customers as well as significant damage to the BC Hydro’s system, including damage to 210 power poles, 93 cross-arms, 115 spans of wire and 33 transformers.

About 100 BC Hydro crews, including crews from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, have been working around the clock to repair and replace equipment, the company said.

The communities hardest hit by power outages are Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

About 170 customers remain without power as of Friday morning. Access to some areas is still limited due fire activity and heavy smoke.