TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Starting January 1st, Tucson Electric Power customers can expect their bills to be a little higher each month.
That's despite the new year feeling and hoping to look forward after the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on families and businesses in 2020.
"Our new rates are recovering the costs of investments our company made years ago, actually since 2015, to help keep the lights on for our customers," says TEP Spokesman Joe Salkowski.
But to get there, TEP says it is raising rates by about $5.20 per month. That's based on average usage on the basic pricing plan, according to TEP.
Tucson Electric says the new rates were requested back in April 2019 and were just approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission back in December. Salkowski says the price hike is to help pay for the company's switch to a cleaner, greener grid.
"As a lot of people know, we're really big on solar energy and we are installing a lot more solar and wind over the next few years. Enough to provide 70% of our power from renewable resources by 2035 from a portfolio that also reduces carbon-emissions by 80%," says the spokesman.
In fact -- TEP says it is adding two new wind farms and a solar and battery storage system in 2021.
"There's a whole lot we have to offer our customers as it relates to energy efficiency. "
And that can come in handy to keep your utility bills down. There are two things you can do to help manage your costs. The first, using a power strip. Salkowski says, "plug all of their electronics into a power strip and then turn that power strip off when they are going to bed. A lot of our electronic devices like Playstations and stereo components will draw energy even when they are not being used. " He also adds that checking your windows and doors for air leaks can also help see if they are costing you money.
"We are also standing by to help customers who might need more help. "
TEP says assistance is available to low-income customers through the Lifeline Program. Since service disconnections will resume in the new year, TEP says customers with any delinquent balance will be placed on an extended 8-month payment plan with no late fees. But that is only if customers keep up with payments.
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