Coronavirus Update: Powering Through
UniSource Energy Services is taking proactive steps to support public health and ensure the continued availability of safe, reliable energy during the coronavirus pandemic.
As a provider of a critical service, UniSource is vigilant about potential public health threats. In addition to reviewing our own systems and supplies, we’re coordinating with state and local authorities and complying with directives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While our crews are on the job, ensuring that our system remains up and running, we are taking action to limit unnecessary risks of exposure. Many of our employees are working remotely, while field crews and others who must continue working in person practice social distancing, adhere to cleaning protocols and take other precautionary measures in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Please understand that our crews and other employees have been advised to take precautions when interacting with customers or other members of the public based on social distancing guidance from the CDC. If our representatives need to enter a gas customer’s home for safety purposes, they wear appropriate protective gear. Also, as a precaution, the payment window at our Nogales office will remain closed until further notice. For information about payment options, click here.
Expanded customer assistance
We know that many of our customers facing financial hardships are having trouble paying their bills. Our customer service representatives are available to provide assistance and resources during these challenging times.
We stand ready to help customers affected by this pandemic with payment extensions or enrollment in short-term assistance and bill discount programs. We’ve suspended service disconnections, waived late fees and offered payment extensions and longer payment arrangements throughout 2020 to provide relief. UniSource also directs customers to short-term and bill payment assistance available through our community partners.
At the direction of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) in December, UniSource will be enrolling customers with overdue balances in an 8-month payment arrangements to provide more time to pay the amount in full. Beginning in January 2021, payment arrangements will be created for all UniSource customers with delinquent balances - residential and commercial, gas and electric.
UniSource Energy Services and our sister company, Tucson Electric Power, donated a combined $1 million in financial support to bill payment assistance and other coronavirus relief efforts in the communities they serve across Arizona.
With the ACC’s approval, UniSource also passed along tax savings to customers sooner to help cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because we know that customers’ energy habits may have changed in the past year, we’re happy to help electric customers change from a time-of-use (TOU) or demand-based pricing plan to our Basic plan if they are concerned that on-peak energy rates or demand charges will increase their energy expenses due to increased time spent at home.
Electric customers who switch to Basic during the pandemic will have the option to return to their previous pricing plan at any time. Those interested in changing their plans are invited to call UniSource Customer Care at 877-837-4968. Please be aware that our Basic plan has higher energy charges than our TOU or demand-based plans, and switching might not result in lower bills. To learn more about our pricing plans, visit uesaz.com/rates/.
We continue to work with other critical service providers, including hospitals and local government agencies, to ensure that we’re working together to support our community’s wellbeing. We know the best service we can offer is to continue providing safe, reliable energy – a commitment we’ll keep throughout this public health challenge.