partial shutdown
Image credit: Arutz Sheva

Arizona's largest electricity utility says it has created a special fund of $500,000 to help customers struggling to pay their power bills due to a lapse in pay caused by the federal government's partial shutdown.

Phoenix-based Arizona Public Service Co. says the $500,000 in assistance related to the shutdown is part of a $1.5 million increase of its funding for APS' crisis bill assistance programme. With the increase, the programme's funding for 2019 now totals $2.75 million, according to APS.

The company says assistance will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to those who qualify.

The programme is administered by a network of nonprofit community agencies and organisations and also provides bill assistance for families facing job loss, unforeseen medical expenses and other financial hardships.