One of the wonderful things about our state is its diversity – and that includes the weather. Based on where you live, the extremes in Arizona’s weather can look very different. Regardless of the type of weather you face, we want all of our customers to know that options and assistance programs are available to keep them safe at home.
These resources are offered year-round, including while APS has halted disconnecting customers who are behind on their bills. We announced that decision on June 13, and in keeping with new rules passed by the Arizona Corporation Commission on June 20, that suspension of disconnecting will be in effect until mid-October. For customers in colder regions of the state like Flagstaff, APS has well-established procedures that comply with Commission rules for suspending disconnects in cold weather.
During Arizona’s extreme weather, it’s important that we all look out for one another, especially vulnerable friends and family members like those who live alone or may need extra support staying safe.
Our Safety Net program is designed to help with this. Customers can designate a friend, relative or community agency as a Safety Net partner to remind them about their APS bill, and we will send that partner a copy of any late payment or disconnect notices for the customer’s account. Other resources include:
Energy Support Program: Eligible limited-income customers can apply for this program to receive an ongoing 25% bill discount on their energy use.
Crisis Bill Assistance: This is temporary support available to customers facing an unexpected financial hardship such as a medical expense or losing a job. An APS customer can receive up to $400 in bill assistance annually.
There are extra precautions we can all take to prevent exposure to heat-related illness in the summer, which can happen indoors as well as outside, such as:
Stay inside in air conditioning, whether at home or in public places that are air-conditioned, like libraries, shopping malls, movie theaters and designated community cooling centers.
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Avoid beverages containing caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar. These drinks can cause dehydration.
Know the additional risks of dehydration and the warning signs of heat stroke.
Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
Regularly check on the elderly, young children and pets. Watch for signs of heat-related illness such as hot, dry skin, confusion, hallucinations and aggression.
Be aware that feeling cold indoors can be deceiving, especially for the elderly. Seniors often don’t realize when they are overheated, dehydrated and in danger. Their body’s ability to regulate temperature can be different, causing them to catch a chill more easily and reach for a sweater or even turn off their air conditioning despite extreme summer temperatures outdoors. If a loved one complains of the cold inside, turn up the thermostat only to a safe temperature and try to seat them away from the direct flow of air vents.
Visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website (azdhs.gov) for resources on how to recognize, prevent and treat heat-related illness, including specific information toolkits for older adults, outdoor workers and schools.
If you or someone you know is struggling to pay their bill, contact the APS customer care center between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays at 800-253-9405, or visit aps.com for more information on available resources. FBN
By Janet Dean, APS
Janet Dean is the community affairs manager for APS.