Arizona’s governor and the state’s largest utilities have agreed to keep the lights turned on for the duration of the coronavirus emergency.
Under an electric utility relief package announced Thursday by Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona Public Service Co., Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power and six electric cooperatives have agreed to continue providing electricity to homes, hospitals and businesses without cutting power for those unable to pay.
According to an announcement, the agreement covers the following:
- No customer will have power to their home shut off during the remainder of the crisis for inability to pay.
- No penalties, late fees or interest will be assessed during this time.
- The utility companies will work with their customers to provide flexible options for payment, as well as guidance and choice of rate and payment plans. Customer service representatives will work with customers desiring to switch plans during this time if they no longer feel their current plan is the best option.
- Customer service representatives are available for individualized service to the hospitals and health care providers during this time.
- The utilities will work with one another across the state during the emergency to provide resources and coverage for one another to ensure continued reliable service.
“Responding to COVID-19 and supporting Arizonans impacted will require a whole-of-state approach,” Ducey said in a statement. “This agreement includes important measures to make sure families, businesses and healthcare facilities continue to have access to reliable electricity throughout this public health emergency.”
The utilities committed more than $3 million to community support and to help customers facing financial hardships brought on by the coronavirus crisis. They’ve also pushed for more federal funding to help low-income customers struggling to pay bills.
Coronavirus relief legislation passed March 25 by the U.S. Senate includes more than $11 million in bill assistance for Arizonans, the announcement said. Those needing utility assistance can find more information at ArizonaTogether.org.
On Thursday, SRP announced its board approved $1.25 million to help residential and small-business customers in its service area unable to pay their electric bills because of the pandemic.
The money includes $500,000 for Wildfire — formerly the Arizona Community Action Agency — that the agency will distribute to those in need; $500,000 for several nonprofit groups to provide community assistance for needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak; and $250,000 to support small businesses.
“More than 80% of local nonprofits are already feeling the effects of this health crisis,” SRP President David Rousseau said in a statement. “It is important that SRP and others step up to the plate at this difficult time and provide assistance to the communities and customers we serve that will help improve lives.”
Click here for more information.