Tucson Electric Power offers multiple programs to help limited-income customers, from bill payment assistance to energy-saving appliance upgrades and home improvements.
Customer Assistance (Lifeline) Program
TEP’s Lifeline Program offers monthly discounts for qualifying limited-income customers who need support in meeting their energy costs. Participants receive a flat $9 discount.
Discounts are available to customers who meet income eligibility limits and other requirements.
Short-Term Bill Assistance
TEP works with community organizations to provide short-term bill payment assistance to limited-income customers in financial distress. The groups use donations and federal funds to help qualifying customers reduce their account balances.
The program is a win for both TEP and its customers. “We want to help our customers maintain their electric service. Disconnecting and reconnecting service comes with an added, avoidable cost,” said Phil Byrum, Customer Service Supervisor.
Interested customers should contact the appropriate agency — the Tucson Urban League for City of Tucson residents and Pima County for those living elsewhere — to determine their eligibility. About 600 customers receive assistance each month through this program.
The Tucson Urban League and Pima County also help limited-income customers reduce their energy costs through TEP’s weatherization assistance program.
The program, established in 1982, seeks to help customers reduce their energy bills through a series of home improvements, from insulation to appliance repair and replacement. Agency representatives assess eligible customers’ home energy usage to determine what improvements can be made.
“We want our at-risk customers to feel comfortable in their homes and have manageable utility bills,” said Desiree Dillard, Program Coordinator with TEP’s Residential Energy Efficiency Programs & Services.
Weatherization measures can include caulking and weather-stripping, insulation installment, sunscreens, duct sealing, planting shade trees and service or replacement of heating and/or cooling units.
TEP contributes up to $3,000 per home for weatherization, and those funds often are matched with funds from the Department of Energy and other agencies. The program helps more than 200 households a year.
Also, through a new initiative with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, TEP is distributing energy efficient LED and CFL light bulbs along with brochures about programs available for limited-income customers.
“Customers who qualify to receive food boxes also qualify for our programs, so it all aligns perfectly,” Dillard said. “We care about our community and want to help.”
Budget Billing, a program available to all TEP customers, can help limited-income households manage their electricity bills.
Under the program, customers pay the same amount every month for their electricity usage. The amount is calculated based on a customer’s electric use during the previous year, divided into equal monthly amounts. The Budget Billing payment may be adjusted occasionally to account for changes in annual energy use.
Budget Billing levels out the peaks and valleys, eliminating the dramatic differences between summer and winter bills. Its stable, predictable payments eliminate surprises that can bust a household’s budget.