Tucson, Ariz. – Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is urging customers with overdue bills to take action and request assistance if necessary to avoid possible service disconnections.
Almost a full year after suspending disconnections, TEP is now resuming that step as a last resort for accounts with overdue balances. This includes potential disconnection of customers who haven’t paid for their electric service despite extended payment plans and other available assistance. TEP has provided repeated notices to affected customers, including on-bill messages, letters, email messages and, in some cases, telephone calls from a customer service representative.
“Resources are available to help those who’ve fallen behind on their bills and we encourage customers to call us if they need help,” said Dallas Dukes, Vice President of Customer Experience, Programs and Pricing. “Anyone who’s been notified that their service could be disconnected should reach out to us right away to discuss available options.”
TEP works with several community agencies to offer emergency bill payment assistance to customers through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the statewide Home Energy Assistance Fund administered by Wildfire. A list of participating organizations is available on TEP’s website. Low income discounts and payment extensions also may be available for qualifying customers.
TEP offers other payment assistance programs and options including flexible pricing plans, free home weatherization for low-income customers, online tools to manage bills and Budget Billing, which divides customer bills into 12 equal monthly payments.
Assistance also may be available from the City of Tucson and Pima County Eviction Prevention Emergency Rent and Utility Relief Program, administered by the Community Investment Corporation. Qualifying tenants and landlords are invited to join a waiting list for rental and utility payment relief. Assistance will be provided on a first come, first-served basis. Learn more at tucsonpimaep.com.
TEP and sister company UniSource Energy Services have extended significant support to customers over the past year, including a combined $1 million contribution last year for bill payment assistance and pandemic relief efforts. The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) also directed TEP to provide one-time bill credits of up to $250 in December 2020 to Lifeline program participants with overdue balances.
Moreover, the City of Tucson also provided $500,000 to TEP in December 2020 through its We Are One/Somos Uno Resiliency Fund to help pay the delinquent balances of qualifying low-income customers. TEP divided those funds among all eligible customers and provided credits to residents of the City of Tucson or South Tucson who were enrolled in TEP’s Lifeline program as of Dec. 17, 2020.
TEP implemented new rules approved by the ACC in December 2020 that provided customers with additional time to catch up with past due bills. Customers with overdue balances on Jan. 18 were enrolled in a payment arrangement that divided their balance into eight equal installments. Customers must pay these installments plus their current monthly bills in full and on time to avoid possible disconnection.
Customers whose service is disconnected are required to pay their delinquent balance plus a reconnection fee before service can be restored. TEP cannot guarantee that service will be restored the same day payment is made.
TEP provides safe, reliable electric service to more than 433,000 customers in Southern Arizona. For more information, visit tep.com. TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy, are subsidiaries of Fortis Inc. (NYSE: FTS), which owns utilities that serve more than 3 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean. For more information, visit fortisinc.com.
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