TEP rates rise

What to know about the increase and why it’s happening
Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 11:33 AM MST|Updated: Sep. 1, 2023 at 5:38 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -Your electric bill is about to go up. The Arizona Corporation Commission approved an increase to Tucson Electric Power Rates, and they go into effect September 1, 2023.

This will be an average $11 a month increase. Much of that will go toward basic equipment and maintenance to keep power flowing. TEP notes technology and security upgrades are needed to make electricity flow smoothly and safely. But the increase also passes along some higher energy and operating costs to customers.

Fact Finders research found an 11% increase in the cost of wholesale energy since the last rate hike in early 2021. That mirrors the 10% being tacked onto your bill.

But there’s also a big increase in sheer usage: Peak energy demands on our local grid have increased five point seven percent since 2019. That demand is driven by an additional 14,000 homes and businesses coming under the utility’s umbrella since the last rate increase - and hotter summers aren’t helping.

“What we’ve seen in the last couple of years are particularly high temperatures, which means our customers are using more, they’re also counting on our system to provide service,” said TEP spokesman Joe Barrios. “So, if we simply left the grid alone, like any machine, any system, it would degrade and eventually stop working.”

But this is also about funding cleaner energy. The Casa Grande wind farm and solar array south of the airport both produce power for customers right now. TEP is planning to transition to 70% renewable energy BY 2035. Right now, it’s 26%.

Fact Finders asked if any of the increase is owed to electric vehicle charging stations. Barrios said it is not - but rebates are available to those who invest in EV charging.

Barrios wrote, “Our rate structure, as well as a new managed charging program in development, will encourage vehicle owners to charge during low peak periods.”

TEP has been sending bill inserts out to customers that explain the increase. If you cannot afford this increase, here are programs in place to help. And If you’re already getting a discount through the Lifeline Program - it’s increasing from $18 to $20.