For Immediate Release: March 25, 2020
UniSource Energy Services and Tucson Electric Power announced today that they will donate a combined $1 million to bill payment assistance and other coronavirus relief efforts in the communities they serve across Arizona.
“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 UniSource, TEP and their parent company, UNS Energy. “In addition to maintaining reliable energy service, we want to help local nonprofit groups support our communities during this period of unprecedented and urgent need.”
The companies will contribute $500,000 to the COVID-19 Community Support Fund established by the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona (CFSA) to support charities experiencing increased service demands from vulnerable populations during this public health crisis. Of that amount, $350,000 will be directed to Tucson-area agencies and $150,000 will benefit communities served by UniSource.
To request emergency bill payment assistance, limited-income customers should contact an agency serving their area.
“This gift is emblematic of TEP’s and UniSource’s long-term understanding that we can only address our communities’ needs by working across sectors in true collaboration and partnership. On behalf of our entire community and the nonprofit organizations that make all our lives better, we offer our deep thanks and gratitude,” said J. Clinton Mabie, CFSA’s President and CEO.
UniSource and TEP also will donate a combined $500,000 to Wildfire, an Arizona nonprofit group that helps low-income families pay their energy bills. The companies had already committed to contribute $300,000 to Wildfire this year, so this 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.
“The coronavirus pandemic has pushed us all into uncharted territory that is particularly daunting to families and individuals already struggling financially on a daily basis,” said Wildfire Executive Director Cynthia Zwick. “Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services have been consistent partners in our efforts to provide bill assistance, but these additional funds are so critical at this time as we react and adapt to the additional stress presented by this pandemic. We are truly grateful for the additional support.”
The companies’ contributions come from funds that would otherwise be forwarded to shareholders and will not be recovered through customers’ rates.
In addition to providing philanthropic support, TEP and UniSource stand ready to help customers affected by this pandemic with payment extensions or enrollment in short-term assistance and bill discount programs. The companies also have suspended service disconnections and late fees until further notice.
TEP provides safe, reliable electric service to approximately 429,000 customers in Southern Arizona. For more information, visit tep.com.
UniSource provides electric service to approximately 97,000 customers in Mohave and Santa Cruz Counties. The company also provides natural gas to approximately 160,000 customers in Northern and Southern Arizona. For more information, visit uesaz.com.
TEP, UniSource and its parent company, UNS Energy, are subsidiaries of Fortis Inc., 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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