TEP spends all year prepping for busy monsoon

TUCSON, Ariz. - More than 5,000 people on the Northwest Side and in Catalina were without power for a portion of the day. While TEP hasn't released the exact cause of these outages at this point, they do say this is the time of year where outages happen the most.

"What it comes down to is us, versus Mother Nature," TEP spokesperson Joe Barrios said. "Sometimes, Mother Nature is going to win. There's no such thing as an electric system that can withstand all of the weather, all of the time."

Barrios explained TEP crews spend a lot of time preparing for monsoon. Monsoonal storms often wreak havoc on their equipment, thus causing power outages. While intense rains and lightning sometimes are the culprits, they can almost always pinpoint the real cause.

"During monsoon season, the wind is the major cause of outages for us," Barrios said.

Joe Martinez lives on the Northwest Side near Camino de la Tierra and River Rd. Thursday's strong winds reminded him monsoon will arrive any day now, causing him some trouble as he worked on some final preparations.

"I mean, you don't fool around with them, because they could definitely do some damage," he said. 

Typically, he says monsoon storms are responsible for around five power outages a season.

"It'll be out for a half an hour, forty-five minutes," he said. 

But even though the power is usually only out for a short amount of time, he's ready for that one, rare, power outage that'll last for hours on end. However, that hasn't happened in several years, he says.

"I've got all of my flashlights set up with new batteries," Martinez said.

Barrios says during monsoon, people should pay extra attention to the weather, so they can make sure they're ready for the storms when they arrive.

"Keep an eye on the weather," he said. "That way, you'll know when there is a possibility that we'll have weather that could result in outages."

Barrios says crews are ready to go and they're constantly monitoring power situations, but they do rely on customers reporting outages as well. That way, they can get to fixing the problem as quickly as possible. To report an outage, call (520) 623-7711, or click here.

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