VANCOUVER -- Provincial officials have extended a program meant to help residents of B.C. who are struggling to make ends meet.

The BC Hydro Customer Crisis Fund will continue to provide support to help keep the lights on for those who are facing financial challenges.

The three-year pilot program wrapped up at the end of May, but in a news release Tuesday, the Ministry of Energy confirmed it has been renewed.

Through the CCF, customers can apply for grants of up to $600 to be used toward their hydro bills. The intent is to give a bit of extra cash to those who've lost their jobs, or are dealing with illness or the loss of a family member, the ministry said.

Grants are meant for those facing the disconnection of their hydro.

The program has helped more than 11,000 customers in its first three years, according to the province.

The grant money comes from a monthly charge of 13 cents, which has been added to the bills of all of B.C.'s residential customers.

The rate was taken off customers' bills this month.

Those wondering if they may be eligible can check the criteria online, which include that the grant recipient be applying for their primary residence, and that they have overdue payments and be facing disconnection. 

Anyone who meets the criteria can apply online. If that isn't an option, an individual can fill out a paper application and bring it to a Service BC location, mail it or fax it. More information is available here.

To apply, the customer will need their BC Hydro account number, as well as the name on the account and their postal code.

Those ineligible for the CCF may still be able to get help from BC Hydro. Payment plans are optional, and customers have the option to defer a payment if needed.

There are also alternatives to a security deposit, and pre-authorized automatic withdrawals can help keep a customer from falling behind.