British Columbians forced from their homes from this summer’s wildfire season will not have to pay for electricity consumed while away.
B.C. Hydro says it is working with local authorities to identify residential and commercial customers to apply a credit to their accounts for electricity used while evacuated from homes and businesses.
The corporation says it is also waiving all charges from the last bill for customers who have lost their homes because of wildfires.
The province declared a state of emergency due to this summer’s wildfire situation and more than 3,000 people have been affected by evacuation orders.
The number climbs to over 23,000 with the inclusion of evacuation alerts.
“We want to help and hope this will provide some financial relief during this especially challenging time,” B.C. Hydro President and Chief Operating Officer Chris O’Riley said.
There are two evacuation alerts on Vancouver Island.
The North Island community of Zeballos declared a state of emergency Thursday and properties on the east side of the village have been told to be prepared to leave within 30 minutes.
The Gold Valley Main fire in Zeballos is listed as a wildfire of note, along with a 20-hectare fire to the north in Pinder Creek, located just south of Wolfe Lake.
Another evacuation alert is in a large area west of the 182-hectare Nanaimo Lakes wildfire that is half contained.
The alert started last Friday after an evacuation order was given August 5.
The wildfire situation continues to worsen in the province with the entire city of Kimberley now on evacuation alert due to a 56-square-kilometre fire pushing north.
In the north-central part of the province, a 683-square-kilometre fire has prompted evacuation orders or alerts from Fraser Lake all the way north to Fort St. James.
On Thursday, the Canadian Red Cross launched a call for donations to help everyone affected by the wildfires.