Bulletin – COVID 19 – Utility Payment Deferral
The AUC explained that the Utility Payment Deferral Program, announced by the Government of Alberta on March 18, 2020, was put in place to support Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regulated service providers and non-regulated service providers implemented the program immediately.
On May 12, 2020, the Utility Payment Deferral Act came into effect. The AUC noted that the Act formally sets out government policy, establishes criteria for eligible customers, and provides definitions for various time periods in the program, parties involved in utility provision and the terms of financial backstops provided by the government, provincial agencies and companies.
The AUC indicated it is responsible for overseeing the program, including reviewing and approving applications from electricity and natural gas service providers that request funding as a result of customers deferring the payment of utility bills. The AUC was accepting applications from service providers under the Utility Payment Deferral Program for the first round of funding up until May 22, 2020.