BC Hydro is encouraging low-income and vulnerable customers to get prepared for the summer heat now by applying for a free AC at bchydro.com/freeAC

Portable ACs are popular because they’re cost effective, can easily be moved, are simpler to set up, and don’t require permanent installation, according to a BC Hydro news release.

$10 million from province

In 2023, to help protect lower-income residents during heat emergencies, the BC Government announced this three-year program with $10 million in funding for BC Hydro to install 8,000 free portable ACs in lower-income BC homes.

Since last summer, more than 4,400 free air conditioner units have been installed. 

How to apply

Before a tenant can apply for a free AC, they must check if they qualify.

Step 1: Income qualification

Household income can’t exceed the amounts listed below. Income is based on the previous year and includes the combined income of all household members aged 18 and older.

Number of residents in household including children

Maximum household income before tax

1 resident


2 residents


3 residents


4 residents


5 residents


6 residents


7 or more residents


Step 2: Eligible housing types

  • Single-family detached home
  • Townhome
  • Apartment or condo
  • Rowhome
  • Duplex
  • Manufactured home / mobile home

Step 3: Required paperwork

  • a signed landlord consent form before applying; and
  • proof of income or a recommendation letter from the regional health authority's Home Care Program.

Step 4: Hydro account/municipal utility account

Renters with a BC Hydro or municipal utility account in their name, can apply online.

Renters without a BC Hydro account, should phone 1-800-224-9376 for help with their application.

More information

Did you know?

  • During the past few years, the use of air conditioning in BC homes has increased by 20 per cent, according to BC Hydro.
  • Over half of British Columbians are now cooling their homes in the summer with an air conditioner, compared to about one-third in 2020.
  • BC Hydro estimates that 730,000 units are being used across the province, an increase of 350,000 units over the past three years.