Publicly-Elected Board Approves $1.25 Million in Assistance for Residential & Small Business Customers in SRP Service Area
Salt River Project's publicly-elected Board of Directors has approved more than $1 million in additional contributions to assist SRP's residential and small business customers who might be having difficulty paying their electric bills as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
SRP will provide $500,000 to Wildfire – formerly the Arizona Community Action Agency – an institution that has been providing critical services to Arizona families since 1967. This contribution is immediately available for Wildfire to distribute to those in need and is in addition to an existing annual $500,000 contribution from SRP.
SRP will work with Wildfire to provide improved flexibility on utility funded requirements and incorporate temporary changes implemented by the Arizona Department of Economic Security for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assistance such as limiting, or eliminating, in-person contact when applying for utility assistance while maintaining due diligence and focusing on those most in need.
The SRP Board also approved an additional $500,000 in community contributions to several local non-profit organizations, including the Valley of the Sun United Way, Mesa United Way and the Arizona Community Foundation. The funds will help these agencies and several others to provide basic needs services and emergency assistance related to COVID-19.
"More than 80 percent of local nonprofits are already feeling the effects of this health crisis," said SRP President David Rousseau. "It is important that SRP and others step up to the plate at this difficult time and provide assistance to the communities and customers we serve that will help improve lives."
"SRP's funds are being directed to the agencies best positioned to most effectively aid our most vulnerable citizens and small businesses," said SRP CEO and General Manager Mike Hummel. "In this fashion, we believe there will be less delay in distributing the assistance to where it is most needed."
SRP's Board also approved $250,000 in contributions to support small businesses in its Valley service territory that are being directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. SRP is still evaluating the appropriate agencies and the most effective way to administer and distribute the funds.
On March 15, SRP management temporarily suspended disconnections of all customers and waived late fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to halt disconnections applies to both residential and commercial customers.
"We strongly encourage any of our customers who are having difficulty paying their electric bill for any reason to contact SRP so our customer service representatives and credit counselors can make arrangements that can help avoid a worsening financial situation," said Hummel.
SRP's Here to Help website, www.srpnet.com/heretohelp, provides information on a wide variety of assistance available should a customer have difficulty paying their energy bill. Although SRP is temporarily halting power shutoffs for non-payment, customers will continue to accumulate charges for electric service from SRP during this time.
"SRP will monitor the ongoing health crisis and continue to evaluate our policies and procedures," said Hummel. "We are also following all guidance from the CDC, including taking steps to reduce the threat of COVID-19 exposure to employees, customers and the community.
"This includes restricting travel, increasing the ability for eligible employees to work from home and implementing additional protocols to keep our facilities clean. All of these steps are being taken to ensure the reliable delivery of water and power."
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 750,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.