Amy Dominguez, firstname.lastname@example.org
TUCSON, ARIZONA – Today numerous Tucson community members and Arizona residents spoke out at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to advocate against Tucson Electric Power's (TEP) proposed 11.8% rate increase and the $2.00 fee increase, which would raise residential ratepayers' bills by an average of $16.22 per month while prolonging TEP's use of dirty and expensive fossil fuel infrastructure. The rate hike would be catastrophic for low-income families who are already hard struck by inflation, and would hurt disadvantaged and frontline communities that often bear a disproportionate air pollution burden. The proposed increase would take the monthly average bill from $121.73 to $135.95.
Today's public comment session underscores the significant burden the rate increase would have on already strained communities who haven't been able to catch a break as they work to pay back charges from deferred payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the public comment session, many people spoke about the burden that a price increase would impose on them, and called for the ACC to protect them from price gouging that keeps customers on the hook for some of the worst polluting and most expensive coal-fired power plants in the Southwest-- the Springerville and Four Corners plants.
Members of the Navajo Nation also spoke at the public comment session, urging the ACC to support rural and Tribal communities impacted by coal-fired power plant closures, who have had to sacrifice land, water, and health to provide cheap water and power without any support from TEP after its plant closures on Tribal land left these communities to deal with the aftermath. Tribal members called for TEP to provide robust funding for communities impacted by the recent and upcoming closures of coal-fired power plants.
The public comment session demonstrated overwhelming community concern, with many Tucsonans advocating to see a reduction in dependence on fossil fuels and a just and equitable transition to renewable energy.
"Tucsonans have been clear about the clean energy future we deserve, and it's up to the ACC to make sure that TEP meets ratepayer demands," said Catalina Ross, Energy Program Coordinator for the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter. "Our community is tired of paying for the pollution we inhale, and as Arizona sits in the bullseye of climate change, decisions like these will impact the health of our communities and our planet for years to come. Today's public comment session has made clear that customers want to see a clean energy transition that prioritizes investments in renewable energy, and it's up to the ACC to hold TEP accountable to it."
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.