PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – Power cuts in the middle of summer? SRP customers are worried after letters were sent this month threatening to shut down if balances were not paid.
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It comes as heat-related deaths in Maricopa County are on the rise. On June 17, the high was 118 degrees and on that day alone there were four heat deaths and four heat-related deaths. Then just since May, there are 29 more deaths that are pending heat-related inquiries.
SRP client Joe (we don’t use his real name to protect his identity) received a letter on June 20. The letter said Joe was at risk of having his power cut the next day between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on June 21 if he ran out of credit or was in debt on the account. The letter stated that the disconnections were reestablished because the excessive heat warning had expired. Anyway, the maximum that day was 109 degrees.
“I will be shouting it from the rooftops every day until they do the right thing and stop putting people’s lives (sic) at risk,” said Stacey Champion, consumer advocate. Champion also fought for APS to end summer shutdowns as well. Now she takes SRP. In this case, the SRP is not regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission like the APS is, so they set their own rules.
Joe sent Arizona’s Family photos of his “pay as you go” account for the month of June and stated that by the time he received the letter he only owed $ 14, which he paid as he did. normally would.
SRP told Arizona’s Family because it paid within the time it took to receive this letter, that its power was not disconnected. SRP officials have also said their policy is not to perform summer disconnects unless a customer has an account debt of more than $ 300, but their summer moratorium is only valid during summer. excessive heat warnings, not during all summer months. By comparison, the APS shutdown moratorium runs from June 1 to October 15.
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Champion said these companies and state officials need to realize how deadly this heat is here in the valley. “We can plan for it every year, but our numbers, I mean, last year were 60% higher than the year before. I mean 2020, 60% higher on heat deaths than in 2019, ”said Champion.
Joe said he didn’t appreciate receiving letters threatening to be arrested in the summer heat when he was working hard to make payments and keep his family safe. SRP said they work with customers to help them with payment plans and billing assistance year-round. SRP is not regulated by the Corporation Commission as they started out as an irrigation service. Instead, they have a board of directors.
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