MOHAVE COUNTY – That the Arizona Corporation Commission approved a substantial rate increase for UniSource Energy Services (UES) electric customers gained nominal publicity, and many customers who missed the news will likely be caught by surprise when they open their bills this month and next.

The rate increase averaging $13.68 a month on average for residential customers went into effect Feb 1. A smaller portion of that adjustment will be reflected by those receiving bills in the first half of the month with later Feb. bills taking a bigger bite from the wallet, before billing consistency takes root in March.

The company has indicated it hadn’t enjoyed a rate adjustment in more than seven years and that more revenue is necessary to keep pace with the cost of providing reliable service to at least 80,000 residential and commercial customers in Mohave County and 20,000 more in its southern Arizona service territory.

“We understand that for some customers, even a small change, really any change, in the rates that they pay could have an impact on them,” said UES public information officer Joseph Barrios. “We do have resources available to help them. We can help with payment arrangements and payment extensions if they need a little more time to try to pay for their bill.”

Barrios said some customers may qualify for partial subsidy through the UES Cares program. He said infromation and assistance is a website or phone call away.

“The number to call for all of our customers, it’s 877-837-4968, and that should get them to our Customer Care team,” Barrios said, noting callers will have to select some auto prompt directives to get to a company representative for help.

Barrios said bill reduction energy conservation tips and rate case history details can be found on the UES webpage (uesaz.com).