Pilot prgram plans to distribute utility assistance to eligible Arizonans
PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) announced Friday the Department plans to allocate $36 million to support eligible households in need of temporary utility assistance and keep their utilities don't get shut off.
“The team at the Arizona Department of Economic Security continues to find new and innovative ways to support Arizonans lifting themselves out of financial challenges,” says Governor Ducey. “The Department’s partnership with private utility companies will increase efficiency, and it is a significant benefit to individuals and families across Arizona."
According to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), the DES's partnership with Arizona Public Service (APS), Salt River Project (SRP), Unisource Energy (UES) Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and Southwest Gas ensures the funding will apply directly to customer accounts once their program eligibility is confirmed.
"I’m grateful to the Department, APS, SRP, TEP 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,” Gov. Ducey expresses.
DES officials clarify they intend to expand this payment model to all utility providers statewide once they're done carrying out the pilot program.
“Public-private partnerships like this are integral to ensuring families have access to the resources they need,” shares DES Director Michael Wisehart. “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.”
It is the utility companies' responsibility to reach out to potentially eligible customers to ensure they qualify, and then transmit that information to the DES in order to receive a lump-sum payment.
ERAP spokesmen believe this process will allow Arizonas to receive critical assistance in a more streamlined and efficient manner.
“This assistance will ensure more utility customers will receive the bill support they need after experiencing financial hardship related to the pandemic,” said Mike Hummel, General Manager and CEO of SRP. “The widespread relief it will provide is invaluable and SRP appreciates the collaboration with Governor Ducey, the Department of Economic Security and our utility peers on this important initiative.”