“We want to raise awareness of all the assistance programs available to save our customers money once the summer heat starts affecting their energy bills,” said APS Community Affairs Manager Janet Dean. “During the 100 days leading up to June, we’re doing everything we can to make sure our customers know where and how to access assistance and energy-saving tips.”
The company offers several programs that not only help during the summer when air conditioning costs can get expensive, but all year-round as different geographic areas in Arizona see different climates, she said.
As part of the initiative, APS representatives are reaching out to customers at approximately 40 events around the state during the 100 days, continuing through May. More than 70 customers were assisted at the event in Flagstaff in April. Customers in Tuba City and on the Hopi Reservation will be able to attend events in those communities at the end of May.
At these events, customers can learn about their eligibility to receive financial assistance and meet with APS customer service representatives to review their account, compare usage plans and enroll in assistance programs.
Low-income customers who qualify can enroll in the Energy Support Program, which offers customers a 25 percent discount on their monthly APS bill. For those who require oxygen and other life-supporting medical equipment, the Medical Care Equipment Program offers an additional 10 percent discount, for a total discount of 35 percent on monthly APS bills.
To learn if they qualify and to enroll at a community event, customers must bring at least one of several income verification documents, including one month’s pay stubs, W-2s, Quest EBT card, SNAP card or TANF award letter to verify their income.
“Customers can also get tips and ideas about how they can be saving money, such as the ideal temperature to set their thermostat, or how to schedule a home inspection to identify ways to improve the energy efficiency of their home,” Dean said.
Help is also available for customers who suddenly face a financial crisis like an unexpected medical bill or a job loss.
“We know that life sometimes comes with unexpected circumstances that can affect our customers’ ability to pay their bill. For those times, we offer our customers up to $400 in assistance to pay a current or past due bill,” said Dean. “We partner with Coconino County Community Services to administer our Crisis Bill Assistance program.”
Earlier this year, Darryl San Souci of Flagstaff found himself with a growing stack of bills and no end in sight to the government shutdown. As a furloughed government employee, San Souci was running out of options. In search of some type of assistance, he learned about APS’s customer assistance programs.
“Although I always have a back-up plan, I never expected for the government shutdown to last as long as it did,” said San Souci. “Learning about APS’s bill assistance program and knowing that I no longer had that bill to worry over was a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Regardless of whether you qualify for APS’s assistance programs for low-income customers, the company offers several ways to assist customers to pay their bills.
“Customers can even give us a call to arrange to pay their past due bills in increments or work out how they can pay at a certain time,” Dean added.
All customers can take advantage of the company’s weatherization program. “A qualified agent can take a look at a home’s energy efficiency and help make simple upgrades, like sunscreens or insulation, which can help save our customers money,” said Dean.
To learn more about APS’s various assistance programs and ways to save money on your energy bill, call 800-253-9405 or visit aps.com/helping. FBN
By Patty McCormac, FBN