BC Hydro issues reminder about free AC units for low-income households

BC Hydro issues reminder about free AC units for low-income households
BC Hydro/Facebook

BC Hydro is reminding residents that free portable AC units are available for eligible low-income households, ahead of the summer season.

Following years of record heat, BC Hydro says the use of AC units has risen by 20 per cent “in recent years,” with just over half of all British Columbians now using AC in the summer – up from just one-third in 2020.

In the wake of recent blistering summers, the B.C. government promised in 2023 to offer $10 million over three years for BC Hydro to install up to 8,000 free portable air conditioning units for people in need in British Columbia.

So far, 4,400 of those free units have been installed, and on Thursday BC Hydro reminded customers that 3,600 are still available for eligible households.

“While air conditioning use has increased significantly across B.C., it is not accessible for everyone, particularly low-income and vulnerable residents,” said BC Hydro in a press release.

Eligibility for the free AC units depends on the combined household income of everyone aged 18 or older in a given home.

A single person household, for example, can only have a maximum income of $39,700 before tax to be eligible for a unit.

That number rises to $73,800 for a household of four people, including children.

Most housing types are eligible for the free AC unit, ranging from a single-family home, to apartment, to mobile home.

More information about eligibility and applying for a free AC unit can be found on the BC Hydro website.

BC Hydro adds that there are other ways to keep homes cool in the summer.

Closing blinds and drapes can block up to 65 per cent of heat from entering a home, while running a fan all day can be a low-cost way of keeping cool.

Residents should also keep their doors and windows shut if the temperature indoors is lower than the temperature outside, and only open windows and doors in the evenings or early mornings when it is cooler.


Adam ChanAdam Chan

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