Tucson Electric Power, UniSource give $1m to bill payment assistance, coronavirus relief efforts

Tucson Electric Power, UniSource give $1m to bill payment assistance, coronavirus relief efforts

Tucson Electric Power Co., Tucson Water and other utilities have suspended disconnections for nonpayment, extended payment plans and increased contributions to low-income assistance programs during the pandemic.

Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services are donating a combined $1 million to bill payment assistance and other coronavirus relief efforts in the communities they serve across Arizona.

The companies will contribute $500,000 to the COVID-19 Community Support Fund established by the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona to support charities experiencing increased service demands from vulnerable populations during the pandemic, a news release said. Of that amount, $350,000 will be directed to Tucson-area agencies and $150,000 will benefit communities served by UniSource.

TEP and UniSource also will donate a combined $500,000 to Wildfire, an Arizona nonprofit that helps low-income families pay their energy bills, the news release stated. The companies had already committed to contribute $300,000 to Wildfire this year, so the new pledge increases that amount by $200,000. TEP customers will receive $350,000 from this year’s contribution, while the remaining $150,000 will support UniSource electric and gas customers.

“We know many of our customers have been hit hard by this pandemic, and we want to do everything we can to help,” said David G. Hutchens, Chief Executive Officer of TEP, UniSource and their parent company, UNS Energy. “We want to help local nonprofit groups support our communities during this period of unprecedented and urgent need.”

The donations come from funds that would otherwise be forwarded to shareholders and will not be recovered through customers’ rates.

TEP, like other local utilities, has suspended service disconnections and late fees during the outbreak. It is also offering payment extension, bill discount and short-term assistance programs.

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