PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – Darren McNeal is like many people, living paycheck to paycheck. âThe cost of everything is increasing,â McNeal said. “But your salary remains the same.”
Tia Wilhelm from Phoenix is ââbehind on her electric bill and doesn’t know how she is going to catch up. âIt’s always a concern,â Wilhelm said. “You wake up everyday wondering if you’re going to be able to eat the next day or pay bills or whatever.”
Tens of thousands of Arizonans still cannot afford to pay their bills, and the pandemic is a big part of it.
Federal funding pays for the state aid program.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security just announced the launch of a new pilot program that will help struggling Arizona residents pay their water, gas and electricity bills.
The state has partnered with utility providers like APS, SRP and Southwest Gas to distribute $ 36 million to households in need of temporary assistance.
Bonnie Temme works with the Community Relations Program Manager with SRP, and says there are several requirements that grant eligibility.
âIt’s based on household income,â Temme said. âAlso, that they have been affected by the COVID pandemic, as well as that they are tenants. This is something he specifically mentions, funds are dedicated to tenants.â
Utility companies will contact potentially eligible customers to ensure they are eligible.
âOh, that can definitely help me,â Wilhelm said. “I’m several months behind in electrical so that would definitely help me.”
For more details on the utility assistance program, visit https://des.az.gov/erap
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