Arizona launches $36M program to help families pay utility bills

Arizona launches $36M program to help families pay utility bills

The Arizona Department of Economic Security announced Friday that it is launching a program to provide $36 million of assistance to households that need help paying utility bills as a two-year moratorium on service cutoff ends.

Arizona Public Service Co., the Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power, UniSource Energy Services, and Southwest Gas will participate in the pilot project.

“Public-private partnerships like this are integral to ensuring families have access to the resources they need,” DES Director Michael Wisehart said in the press release. “With the utility companies’ collaboration, we will be able to distribute assistance to help customers keep their lights on and their accounts current. We are grateful for their partnership in supporting Arizona families.”

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The company will reach out to eligible customers and confirm their status. Later, they will have the money directly applied to their accounts as a lump sum.

“After this initial pilot, DES intends to expand this payment model to all utility providers statewide,” the company said.

The Arizona Republic reported that federal funding is paying for the program.

“The Department’s partnership with private utility companies will increase efficiency, and it is a significant benefit to individuals and families across Arizona," said Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyDemocrats torn over pushing stolen-election narrative Arizona sues Biden administration over threat to claw back COVID-19 funds Some in GOP begin testing party's lockstep loyalty to Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) "I’m grateful to the Department, APS, SRP, TEP, UES and Southwest Gas for their dedication to getting resources to those in need, and I look forward to the ways the new investment and partnership will help fellow Arizonans.”

The cutoff date, which was Friday, was approved by The Arizona Corporation Commission in 2019, according to the Arizona radio station KTAR-FM.