As part of its 2016 rate review proposal, APS plans to increase the funding to help offset power costs for eligible low-income individuals and families throughout the state.
In addition, APS officials said the plan is to make it easier for eligible customers to enroll in the program.
“Currently about 85,000 customers receive assistance but we know more people qualify for discounts, and we want to ensure those who meet the requirements are aware of the help they can get,” said Stacy Derstine, APS’ vice president of customer service.
According to APS spokeswoman Anna Haberlein, eligibility is income based and the amount of the discount is based on the usage.
“In our 2016 rate review we are proposing going to a flat discount of $34 [up to 80 percent of the customer’s bill]. All the customer needs to do is fill out an application which is available online.”
The amount of the annual funding is based on enrollment, Haberlein said. Last year APS had 88,516 customers enrolled, which was equal to $36 million. This resulted in an average discount of approximately $34 a month. They are proposing an increase to $48 million to help serve more customers.
“The funding is built into the ‘system benefits’ charge, which you can see on your bill,” she said. “This charge is to cover the costs of programs approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission.”
Haberlein said those programs include limited-income assistance, demand-side management, customer education, environmental, renewables, long-term public benefit research and development, nuclear fuel disposal and nuclear power plant decommissioning programs as well as other programs approved by the ACC.
Customers can also do a voluntary pledge contribution through APS’s SHARE program to assist limited-income individuals. Those with an automatic SHARE pledge each month will have the pledged amount automatically included in the “total due” amount with a line item that states “Includes $ x.xx SHARE pledge.”
In addition to financial assistance for limited-income customers, APS also provides funding for home weatherization in partnership with Community Action Programs throughout Arizona. The weatherization program enables low-income customers to make their homes more energy-efficient.
When homeowners can’t afford minor repairs to their homes, cooling or heating the home becomes more difficult. APS supports weatherization workshops in rural areas that teach customers how to seal cracks in walls and windows and make other minor adjustments that can help them save big on energy bills. In 2015, APS allocated $2.3 million to help with limited-income weatherization projects around the state.
“Our weatherization program helps customers improve the efficiency of their homes at no cost to them,” Derstine said. “We want to ensure everyone can afford to run their air conditioners in the heat of the summer and their heaters in the cold of winter.”
For more information on this program, visit aps.com/e3. BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS