SRP to Extend COVID-19 Moratorium on Disconnects Until Oct. 1
Will Resume Some Late Payment Fees and Continue Offering Payment Support
Salt River Project (SRP), beginning on March 16, halted disconnections and stopped imposing late payment fees for all customers during the unprecedented circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and today announced it will extend its moratorium on disconnects until October 1. As October nears, the not-for-profit utility is developing flexible payment plans and finding financial assistance for customers.
“Further extending our COVID-19 disconnect moratorium was an important decision SRP made in order to help customers develop repayment and bill-assistance solutions that work for their unique situations, and our hope is they will call us sooner rather than later,” said Jim Pratt, Associate General Manager and Chief Customer Executive at SRP. “It is our goal to work with each customer who is having trouble paying their bill so we can help get them access to financial support and ensure they don’t accrue more debt.”
SRP works with customers on an individual basis to develop payment plans and identify available discounts and support. The utility also connects customers to partners such as local municipalities, community action agencies, and local and faith-based organizations that provide financial assistance to eligible limited-income households and business owners. If customers with past-due electric bills have not called to set up a personalized payment arrangement by October 1, SRP will place them on an eight-month payment plan to spread out repayment of their total balance. Customers can call SRP to start or change their payment plan and discuss available financial assistance using the 24-hour SRP customer service line, (602) 236-8888.
Although disconnections will not start until October 1, late payment fees will resume on August 1 except for those customers on SRP’s Economy Price Plan (EPP). By calling soon and setting up a payment plan, customers can start gradually paying past-due balances and avoid incurring late payment fees altogether. SRP wants to help customers manage their bill far in advance of October, giving them time to develop payment plans they are comfortable with, receive referrals to community agencies with available COVID-19 relief funds, and gain easy access to SRP customer service representatives.
Customers who call SRP can also discuss if they are eligible for SRP’s EPP monthly discount which is available to limited-income households. Those eligible can immediately enroll during the call. While late payment fees will resume on August 1, existing EPP customers, as well as those who may now qualify and enroll, will continue to have late payment fees waived until October 1.
“SRP remains sensitive to its customers who are navigating financial challenges from COVID-19’s significant, widespread impact on Arizona households and companies,” Pratt said. “As a public power company, our longstanding approach reinvests revenue into lowering customer prices and SRP has some of the lowest electricity prices in the Southwest. However, this makes it unsustainable for SRP to continue under current disconnect moratorium policies for an extended period. It could ultimately raise our customers’ prices or impact our ability to reliably serve power.”
The SRP COVID-19 moratorium on disconnects began on March 16. To date, SRP customer past-due balances total about $31.8 million, an amount that is about triple the average debt accrued this time of year.
Beginning on October 1, all customers except those on the M-Power Price Plan, with a past-due balance of more than $80, will automatically be placed on an eight-month payment plan if they have not already selected a different arrangement. For M-Power customers, accumulated debt will be placed in a paydown account, similar to a payment plan, and a percentage of every future purchase will be applied to this account so they can pay off the debt over time.
SRP’s Here to Help website provides information on a wide variety of assistance available to customers, including details on low-cost price plans and discounts available to customers on a limited income. SRP is also continuing to allow customers to switch price plans at any time with no waiting period. For customers on Time of Use plans, SRP tips on how to save money help customers get the best value by sharing ways to limit energy use at home while energy costs are higher.
Beyond these resources, SRP has donated more than $1.35 million to assist residential customers, small businesses, nonprofits and health care organizations financially struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than $500,000 dedicated to customer bill assistance. SRP also set up an employee fund so SRP employees could donate directly from their paychecks to customers in need. Approximately 500 employees have contributed more than $52,000 to support customers in paying utility bills.
SRP customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays, to take customer calls, find support and develop payment arrangements to keep customers’ power on.
SRP Residential Customer Service is available to serve customers 24/7 at (602) 236-8888 in English and (602) 236-1111 in Spanish.
SRP Business Customer Center representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.–5 p.m. at (602) 236-8833.
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 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.