Arizona to spend $ 36 million to help families pay their utility bills

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  • Arizona passed a law prohibiting utility companies from shutting off electricity in the event of missed bills in 2019.
  • This moratorium expired on Friday, Arizona-Republic reported.
  • The state announced a new $ 36 million program on Friday to help families pay their bills.

Arizona to provide $ 36 million to help families pay their utility bills, Arizona Department of Economic Security announcement Friday.

“The Arizona Department of Economic Security team continues to find new and innovative ways to help Arizona residents navigate financial challenges,” Governor Doug Ducey said in the announcement.

The announcement comes as a two-year moratorium on service disruptions has expired, Arizona-Republic reported.

Arizona-Republic reported that in June 2019, an emergency rule passed by state regulators prevented utility companies from shutting down services to people who were missing bills. The state of emergency came after a 72-year-old woman died after her electricity was cut.

The pilot program will work with Arizona Public Service Co., the Salt River Project, UniSource Energy Services, Tucson Electric Power, and Southwest Gas.

The announcement indicated that the funding would be applied directly to clients’ accounts once they were deemed eligible for the program.

DES said it also plans to expand the program to all utility programs as a result of this pilot program.

“Public-private partnerships like this are essential to ensure families have access to the resources they need,” DES director Michael Wisehart said in the announcement. “With the help of utility companies, we will be able to distribute assistance to help customers keep their lights on and their accounts up to date. We are grateful for their partnership in supporting families in Arizona.”

Arizona-Republic said funds for the program came from the 2021 Consolidated Finance Law, which was passed by Congress last December.

The state has deployed several support programs during the pandemic, including one rental assistance program.

However, earlier this month, a senior official in President Joe Biden’s administration warned Ducey that millions in federal relief funds could be at risk due to two anti-mask education programs, Politics reported.

In August, Ducey launched a grant program that used $ 163 million in federal funds donate to schools that remain open during the pandemic and also obey state laws that ban masks and vaccines. He also launched a $ 10 million program so families can send children who attended schools requiring masks or vaccines to private schools.

Assistant Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo said he was concerned the programs “undermine evidence-based efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” and gave Ducey 30 days to explain how Arizona “will address the issues. problems ”before dealing with the consequences, including the loss of funding.

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