TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — On a hot day like the ones we’ve had lately, you probably want to head home and set your thermostat to a temp a polar bear would appreciate. But Tucson Electric hopes you won’t.
When it gets this hot, power companies like Tucson Electric start worrying about the strain on their systems and they start worrying about inability to pull in power from other utilities on the grid. That’s why they are asking you to back off your electricity usage, especially between three and seven o’clock.
Joe Barrios of TEP wants to be clear TEP is not running out of power but it does want to maintain a safety margin on how much power it has.
“We've seen circumstances in other parts of the region, where energy supply is low, and utilities have had a really tough time serving all of their customers; energy needs during those peak hours. And so we are trying to be proactive, and encourage our customers to conserve during that time if they can.”
With that in mind TEP’s enlisted another mascot for conservation: Tucson Water’s Pete the Beak character toexpand his message to beat the peak on water use to beat the peak for electricity.
The 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. zone is because people coming home near dinner is the peak of the day when people crank up their AC, stove, washer and dishwasher.
Backing off when things are the hottest drew some heated comments on KGUN9, Facebook page.
One viewer wrote: “So turn off your A/C during peak and sit around the house and bake?”
TEP is just asking to set your AC at 78. You can supplement that with fans and with closing blinds to block out the sun.
And for customers who say they pay their bill and should be able to use all the power they want, TEP says it does offer pricing plans that offer discounts if you cut use at peak times.
Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing email@example.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.