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Thousands of small businesses apply for BC Hydro aid

FILE - (Courtesy BC Hydro)

3,000 businesses have applied for BC Hydro's bill relief program

Relief program applies to small businesses closed because of COVID-19 and are on the small general service rate

Bill could be waived for up to three months

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Thousands of businesses have already applied for help from BC Hydro, just a day after the power provider launched a relief program for those affected by the global pandemic.

Since the program started Wednesday, 3,000 applications have come in for bill relief, according to BC Hydro.

The program offers to waive electricity costs for up to three months for small businesses that have closed because of COVID-19. Customers must also be on the BC Hydro’s small general service rate.

BC Hydro says about 40,000 customers are eligible, and applications will be accepted until June 30.

Since COVID-19 measures have been in place, BC Hydro says usage in commercial buildings has gone down. Recreational facilities dropped by 30 per cent, similar to restaurants at 29 per cent. Usage in hotels saw a decline of 27 per cent and by 16 per cent in offices.

The company also started a relief program for residential customers last week and says more than 57,000 people applied.