Burrowing owl showing its wing span

Environmental Stewardship

A passionate commitment to environmental sustainability

At Tucson Electric Power, our employees promote sustainability by working closely with community partners to protect wildlife and preserve our environment.

We do this by directing resources and funding to support a variety of nonprofit organizations whose projects and programs protect and preserve our natural resources, including land, water, air and wildlife. Our environmental stewardship is part of our commitment to sustainability in everything that we do.

TEP supports the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, Friends of Saguaro National Park, Sonoran Institute, Arizona Trail Association, Sky Island Alliance, The Nature Conservancy and many other groups. We even helped create the very first Tucson Earth Day Festival in 1995, and we have been an active participant ever since.

In addition to investing funds – which come from corporate resources, not customers’ rates – our company supports our many employee volunteers who are actively engaged in local conservation efforts:

Raptor Protection Program

TEP takes significant steps to protect wildlife from electrical equipment, a task that requires continuous effort and innovation. Through our Raptor Protection Program, we work with wildlife biologists at the University of Arizona to help protect raptors such as Harris’ Hawks, Great Horned Owls and Red-Tailed Hawks.

TEP safeguards all new utility poles with silicone and fiberglass covers designed to keep birds away from energized components. We also retrofit existing equipment with these protections when raptor nests are discovered nearby. If you see raptor nests or injured wildlife near unprotected electrical infrastructure, please contact:

  • Email TEP Customer Care
  • Call TEP Customer Care at 520-623-7711 or
  • Call Arizona Game and Fish at 520-628-5376, extension 4446

For tips on how to keep birds and wildlife safe, visit the Tucson Wildlife Center (TWC). TEP has been an active supporter of TWRC for more than a decade, providing both monetary support and volunteers to build wildlife recovery habitats.

Habitat Creation for Burrowing Owls

Burrowing owls are a bird of concern in Arizona as they are often driven from their preferred habitat by land development. In collaboration with the wildlife rescue group Wild at Heart, TEP employee volunteers help build new artificial habitats for burrowing owls that are displaced from their native homes. Our volunteers have helped construct hundreds of man-made burrows at several locations in our service area, that originally started at our H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station, and have now moved to locations across Southern Arizona.

In addition to employee volunteers, TEP provides Wild at Heart with trench-digging equipment and operators as well as funding to purchase materials for the artificial burrows. Read more about how TEP supports the Burrowing Owl Project.

Cactus Rescues

Through a collaboration with the Tucson Cactus & Succulent Society, TEP rescues cactuses from the sites where we build transmission lines and substations. Cacti are relocated to gardens, business properties and public areas, such as the Pima County Courthouse grounds. We recently supported the removal of 1,200 plants near the site of our new Orange Grove Substation. Read more about cactus rescues.

Trees for You

TEP offers discounted shade trees to residential customers through its Trees for You program. Shade trees create reduce urban heat, enhance landscaping, absorb carbon dioxide, reduce erosion and provide a habitat for wildlife. They also provide shade to keep homes cooler in the summer to help lower energy use. Customers may order up to three 5-gallon shad trees at a discounted price of $5 each.

Buffelgrass Removal

Buffelgrass is a non-indigenous grass brought from Africa to Arizona for use as cattle feed and erosion control. Highly invasive and flammable, buffelgrass creates a wildfire hazard and chokes out native plants and vegetation, including our iconic saguaro, threatening the delicate Sonoran Desert ecosystem.

TEP supports the management and eradication of buffelgrass throughout the year by removing buffelgrass from around our substations and in rights-of-way. We also work collaboratively with land owners on project sites to contain this invasive grass.

Many of our employees and their family members also actively participate in buffelgrass removal efforts, including the annual Beat Back Buffelgrass event, during which vast amounts of the grass are removed from various locations from Sabino Canyon Recreation Area to the West Campus of Pima Community College.

You can help by volunteering with area nonprofits engaged in wildlife protection. Here are some organizations that offer environmental education programs:

Latest Environment News

Tucson Electric Power: 5 Ways We Work to Reduce Transmission-Related Wildfire Risks

5 Ways We Work to Reduce Transmission-Related Wildfire Risks

TEP works year-round to reduce the risk of exacerbating wildfires that can destroy property and lead to power outages.