TEP wants more money, but not for just energy transitions

I moved to Tucson at the end of September from Brooklyn. My partner is from here, loves Tucson and always wanted to come home. It was a big move for me, and not easy to leave my community and work in New York, but one thing I was looking forward to was escaping the crushing unaffordability of New York City.

Unfortunately, Tucson Electric Power has other plans. TEP has proposed an 11.8% rate hike that will jack up our bills by an average of $16.22 per month, taking the monthly average to a shocking $135.95 per month.

That’s simply unaffordable, especially for folks who haven’t been able to catch a break as they work to pay back utility bills that stacked up during the COVID-19 pandemic. And to add insult to injury, TEP is spending our customer money to keep dirty coal-fired power plants running longer, prolonging harm to communities living nearby.

I’ve learned that TEP has been raising bills for years now. Since 2019, there have been three major monthly bill increases, including a fee to pay for the rising and volatile cost of gas for power plants. The latest proposed increase will be used in part to pay for dirty, expensive fossil fuel infrastructure that residents have demanded be retired and replaced with clean energy. But TEP insists on burning customer dollars on some of the most polluting and expensive coal-fired power plants in the Southwest: the Springerville and Four Corners plants.

While across the nation coal use is swiftly declining, TEP continues to prop up fo