Coronavirus Update: Powering Through
Keeping our community, employees and partners safe
Tucson Electric Power is taking proactive steps to support public health and ensure the continued availability of safe, reliable energy during the coronavirus pandemic.
As a provider of a critical service, TEP is vigilant about potential public health threats. In addition to reviewing our own systems and supplies, we’re coordinating with state and local authorities and complying with directives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While our crews are on the job, ensuring that our system remains up and running, we are taking action to limit unnecessary risks of exposure. Many of our employees are working remotely, while field crews and others who must continue working in person practice social distancing, adhere to cleaning protocols and taking other precautionary measures in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Expanded customer assistance
We know that many of our customers facing financial hardships are having trouble paying their bills. Our customer service representatives are available to provide assistance and resources during these challenging times.
We stand ready to help customers affected by this pandemic with payment extensions or enrollment in short-term assistance and bill discount programs. We’ve suspended service disconnections, waived late payment fees and offered payment extensions and longer payment arrangements throughout 2020 to provide relief. TEP also directs customers to short-term and bill payment assistance available through our community partners.
At the direction of the Arizona Corporation Commission in December, TEP will be placing all residential customers with overdue balances on an 8-month payment arrangement beginning in January 2021 to give them more time to pay the amount in full.
In December 2020, the City of Tucson provided $500,000 to TEP through its We Are One/Somos Uno Resiliency Fund to help pay the delinquent balances of qualifying low-income customers. TEP divided the funds among all eligible customers with delinquent balances and applied the credits automatically in December. The credits were limited to residents of the City of Tucson or South Tucson who were enrolled in TEP's Lifeline program as of Dec. 17, 2020.
TEP and our sister company, UniSource Energy Services, donated $1 million in financial support to bill payment assistance and to the COVID-19 Community Support Fund, established by the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona. We are also assisting local nonprofits and helping our customers with meeting increased needs during the pandemic.
With the Arizona Corporation Commission’s approval, in June TEP also returned unused energy efficiency funds to customers to help cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because we know that customers’ energy habits may have changed in the past year, TEP is happy to help customers change from a time-of-use (TOU) or demand-based pricing plan to our Basic plan if they are concerned that on-peak energy rates or demand charges will increase their energy expenses due to increased time spent at home.
Customers who switch to Basic during the pandemic will have the option to return to their previous pricing plan at any time. Anyone interested in changing their plan are invited to call TEP Customer Care at 520-623-7711. Please be aware that our Basic plan has higher energy charges than our TOU or demand-based plans, and switching might not result in lower bills. To learn more about our pricing plans, visit tep.com/rates/.
We continue to work with other critical service providers, including hospitals and local government agencies, to ensure that we’re working together to support our community’s wellbeing. We know the best service we can offer is to continue providing safe, reliable energy – a commitment we’ll keep throughout this public health challenge.