For Immediate Release | 12-10-20
Media Contact | Daniel Schwiebert
Direct | 602-542-3625
E-Mail | DPSchwiebert@azcc.gov
REMOTELY FROM TUCSON - Commissioner Lea Marquez Peterson and her fellow Commissioners at the Arizona Corporation Commission recently passed a discount and payment program for electric customers who are behind on their bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program included a $250 upfront credit and auto-enrollment into an 8-month payment plan for all customers at 150% of the federal poverty level who are behind on their bills. Customers who are at 200% of the federal poverty level and behind on their bills will also be eligible to enroll in the program.
“Customers need all the help they can get,” Commissioner Marquez Peterson said. “Our major concern was providing that help without unduly shifting the costs to other Arizona families during these challenging times. I believe the upfront credit of $250, shared in-part by the utilities, will make a substantial difference for Arizona families, and help to reduce the total amount in arrears and the amount of monthly payments that customers will have to pay, spread out over 8 months.”
Importantly, APS and TEP have promised to provide 50% of the total funds for the discount, a remarkable $2.5 million from APS and $700,000 from TEP.
“I want to wholeheartedly thank APS, TEP and UNS for their commitment to provide a COVID discount from shareholders. Because the utilities have committed to providing shareholder funds, customers aren’t carrying all of the burden.”
In addition, the package provides an 8-month repayment solution for all other customers who do not qualify for the program, but who need clarity on the utility’s existing tariffs and certainty during these times.
“I want to thank my fellow Commissioners Sandra Kennedy and Boyd Dunn for their engagement in this important issue. Your help was vital in ensuring that we were able to strike an appropriate balance and help our customers in need.”
“For anyone in need of utility assistance during this time, please contact your utility to learn how you can take advantage of available assistance, discount programs, and repayment plans.”
About Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson, MBA, IOM:
Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission in November 2020. She is the first Latina to serve in a statewide seat in the state of Arizona and the first Commissioner to propose a 100 percent zero-carbon energy goal for the state.
The only Commissioner not based in Maricopa County, Commissioner Márquez Peterson has been a champion for rural Arizona and small business. Lea has been an entrepreneur in Southern Arizona for many years and served as the President/ CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber from 2009 until November of 2018. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber serves the business community in the bilingual, bi-cultural region of the Arizona-Sonora border and was recognized as the Hispanic Chamber of the Year in 2013 by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Lea joined the national Hispanics in Energy organization in July 2019.
Prior to her leadership at the Chamber, she previously served as the Executive Director for Greater Tucson Leadership (GTL) from 2005 to 2009 and owned and operated a Business Brokerage Firm from 2005 to 2009 and a chain of six gasoline stations / convenience stores with 50 employees from 1998 to 2005 in the Tucson region.
As Commissioner, Lea has voted to refund $40 million to customers of APS, TEP, and UNSE, eliminate additional subsidies and surcharges on customers' bills, and provide as much relief to vulnerable populations as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also supported policies that will help to develop new energy technologies, while allowing competition and innovation to drive the Commission's decisions, helping to keep utility rates affordable for Arizona families.
Lea has been appointed to serve on the Arizona Judicial Council, which advises the Arizona Supreme Court and the Arizona Finance Authority, the state's bonding authority. She chairs the Board of Directors of Carondelet's St Mary's and St Joseph's Hospitals in Tucson and is the former Chair of the Pima Association of Governments' Economic Vitality Committee. She serves on the Boards of the University of Arizona Foundation and the Pima County Workforce Investment Board and is the President of the National Association of Women Business Owners in Tucson. She also serves on the national Small Business Development Council advisory board for the U.S Small Business Administration.
She received her undergraduate degrees in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the University of Arizona, and her Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. She resides in Tucson and is married with two children.
The Arizona Corporation Commission was established by the state's constitution to regulate public utilities and business incorporation. The Corporation Commission is Arizona's co-equal, fourth branch of government. The five Commissioners elected to the Corporation Commission oversee executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings on behalf of Arizonans when it comes to their water, electricity, telephone, and natural gas resources as well as the regulation of securities, pipeline, and railroad safety. To learn more about the Arizona Corporation Commission and its Commissioners, visit http://azcc.gov.