Governor Ducey announced a cooperative agreement for Arizona’s largest electric utilities to provide reliable electricity to homes, hospitals and businesses, and to help struggling Arizonans access reliable electricity. Arizona Public Service (APS), Salt River Project (SRP), Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and six other utilities have all agreed to:
Not shut off power in homes for inability to pay; not charge penalties, late fees or interest; and provide flexible payment options as well as guidance and choice of rate and payment plans.
Additionally, all utilities’ customer service centers agreed to: allow customers to switch to a different plan, provide individualized service to hospitals and health care providers and work with other utilities to provide resources and coverage for each other to ensure reliable service state-wide. For more information, read the governor’s announcement here.
Phoenix Water Services Department has suspended water shutoffs. Services will be temporarily restored to households disconnected due to unpaid bills to ensure residents can adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for frequent hand-washing. For more information, visit the Phoenix Water Service Department website.
Tempe, Goodyear and Surprise are suspending disconnections for water customers who are unable to pay.
Cox Communications is eliminating data usage overages in addition to pledging to support the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge by not terminating service because of an inability to pay their bills and waiving any late fees for residential and small business customers. For more information, visit the Cox Communications website.
CenturyLink also signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, which includes a commitment to waive late fees and not terminate a residential or small business customer’s service due to financial circumstances associated with COVID-19, for more information visit the CenturyLink website.
CableONE (Sparklight) is waiving late fees for customers for 60 days. CableONE serves Bisbee, Cottonwood, Globe-Miami, Page, Prescott, Safford, Sow Low, Lakeside-Pinetop and Winslow. For more information, call 877-692-2253.
Altice (Suddenlink) joined the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge and will not disconnect any broadband or telephone customers for unpaid bills. Altice servcies Bullhead City, Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Lake Montezuma, Oak Creek, Parker, Payson, Pine/Strawberry, Pinewood, Sedona and Verde Village. For more information call 888-633-0030.
T-Mobile, which also signed onto the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge, is offering two plans in response to COVID-19 through their EmpowerED programs, which come at $10/month and $20/month levels. All rate plans will have taxes and fees waived. For details, see the T-Mobile EmpowerED 2.0 site.
Verizon signed onto the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge to waive late fees and suspend termination of wireless, home phone or broadband service for any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay bills. For more information, visit the Verizon website.
AT&T is committed to the Keep Americans Connected Pledge to waive late fees and suspend termination of wireless home phone or broadband service for residential and small business customers who are unable to pay bills. For more information, visit the AT&T website.
Sprint signed the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge to support residential and small business owners by not terminating service if they are unable to pay their bill and waiving late fees incurred because of economic circumstances related to the pandemic. For more information, visit the Sprint website.
Thanks to the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB), schools and libraries that are closed to the COVID-19 outbreak can offer E-Rate-supported Wi-Fi network access to the general public while on the property. The WCB is also allowing the individual schools and libraries to establish their own policies for Wi-Fi use, including time limitations. Specifically, closed schools are not allowed to charge the public for the use of their services. For more information, visit the FCC’s website here.
Through this current situation, the Arizona Public Libraries are helping the community access the internet to complete basic tasks such as taxes, working from home and completing school work. This map shows available public Wi-Fi hotspots for families without internet access.
Cox Communications is opening about 2,500 free public Wi-Fi hot spots, increasing internet speeds for free to help with load capacity and is offering enrollment in its low-income broadband internet program. For more information, visit the Cox Communications website.
CenturyLink will suspend data-usage limits.
Altice (Suddenlink) is offering K-12 and college students who do not currently have home internet access the Altice Advantage 30 Mbps free for 60 days for households within the Altice service footprint. For more information, call 888-633-0030.
CableONE (Sparklight) is offering 15 Mbps internet for $10 per month for the next 60 days for low income families. Unlimited data is available for all internet services for 30 days to all customers. Free Wi-Fi hotspots are available in the Sparklight office parking lots during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, call 877-692-2253.
Comcast is offering free Wi-Fi for 60 days to lower income families. All Xfinity hotspots are free to the public. Comcast serves Oro Valley, Marana, Pima County and parts of Tucson. For more information, visit the Comcast website.
Orbitel Communications is offering a $15 a month, 10 Mbps product that includes a modem and router and free install for families with K-12 students eligible for the free and reduced meal program. Service area includes Maricopa and Sun Lakes. Find out more at orbitelcom.com.
AT&T is providing all AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, unlimited internet data. Business customers currently on or who purchase an AT&T World Connect Advantage package receive 50% off the current rate in a monthly bill credit (max $7.50/mo.). Businesses, universities and schools can keep their teams and classrooms connected through conference calls and video conferencing with Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T for 90-days, and seamlessly forward calls to both mobile and landline phones with AT&T IP Flexible Reach. Eligible low-income households can continue to receive internet through Access from AT&T program for $10/month, with new customers enjoying two months of free service. AT&T has also created a new Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund to support new demands for at-home learning. First responders, health care professionals, educators and other essential customers will receive additional support to ensure the continuation of critical service to communities through FirstNet, which will provide unthrottled connectivity and priority communications. Note that AT&T store availability will be limited. To locate a store, visit www.att.com/stores.
T-Mobile is expanding network capacity for customers across the country. It is also expanding roaming access for Sprint customers to use the T-Mobile Network. All current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers who have plans with data will have unlimited smartphone data for 60 days. For more information, visit the T-Mobile website.
Verizon is providing free access to its public WiFi hot spots and unlimited data for its consumer home internet wireline customers and fixed wireless internet customers. Verizon will waive overage charges and late fees to support customers who may be financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis, in addition to automatically adding 15GB of high-speed data for wireless consumers and small business customers. Verizon also announced two months waived internet and voice service charges for current Lifeline customers and a new affordable internet option for low-income households ($20 discount per month). In addition, first responders are provided priority and preemption abilities for voice and data, and consumer and small business Fios and DSL broadband internet plans have no data caps. For more information, visit the Verizon website.
Sprint will offer unlimited data per month for customers with metered data plans. It will also provide customers with an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot data at no extra cost. For more information, visit the Sprint website.
EveryoneOn is a nonprofit dedicated to creating social and economic opportunity by connecting low-income families to affordable internet service and computers, and delivering digital skills training. In response to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on society, multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have made updates to their low-cost internet service programs to ensure individuals and families stay connected to the internet during this challenging time. EveryoneOn has updated its low-cost internet service options tool to reflect these changes. For more information, visit the EveryoneOn website.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the Telecommunications and Electric programs’ annual CPA audit submittal deadline by 60 days and are waiving borrower covenant requirements for loan agreement financial ratios from January 1 – December 31.
Additionally, the USDA is waiving all financial reporting requirements with existing Rural Utilities Service (RUS) loan and grant covenants from January 1 – June 30.
RUS Telecommunications, Electric and Water and Environmental programs may also consider waiving certain site inspection requirements. Applicants now have the option to use alternative methods such as videoconferencing to substitute for the public meeting notification requirement for water and waste projects.
On a case by case basis, the USDA will also help Electric program borrowers gain access to obligated funds quicker at low interest rates by considering extensions of loan terms and Temporary Normal Inventory (TNI) requests. For more information, please see USDA’s announcement.
For additional support for assistance, please contact:
Electric Program: Christopher McLean, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-407-2986
Telecommunications Program: Laurel Leverrier, email@example.com, 202-495-9142
Water and Environmental Programs: Edna Primrose, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-494-5610
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) announced that residents age 65 and older have the option to delay required emissions tests for up to one year. This waiver requires a $9.50 fee presented by check only and can be used to renew your vehicle registration online with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). The ADEQ is accepting waiver applications for emissions tests due in March, April and May. For more information or to apply for the waiver, visit ADEQ’s website.
The Arizona Department of Transportation is continuing its essential services to support Arizonans during the pandemic. Pavement repairs, highway construction and improvement projects will continue. Crew will also continue to patrol Phoenix-area freeways to quickly clear crashes and help stranded motorists. ADOT’s Traffic Operations Center’s dispatchers are on duty 24/7 to monitor the freeways and highways across the state for incidents, deploy personnel as needed to keep traffic moving and share critical information on overhead message boards. For more information on how ADOT’s efforts to help long-haul truckers, MVD customers and more, view the ADOT COVID-19 Response.
ADOT’s Motor Vehicle Division is assisting customers and protecting employees by limiting office visits to those needing transactions that must be done in person. Most motor vehicle transactions can be performed anytime by visiting ServiceArizona.com.
Governor Ducey requested Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), to open a special enrollment period on the Federal Insurance Marketplace. If approved, this would allow recently unemployed workers access to health care and provide an important option to struggling Arizonans due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Governor Ducey also issued an Executive Order requiring health care insurance companies to expand telemedicine coverage for all services. Additionally, Governor Ducey requested to expand nutritional assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). For more information, visit the governor’s website.