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APS asks customers to conserve energy after recent blackouts in California

Posted at 9:27 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 00:27:25-04

After excessive heat forced rolling blackouts for thousands of people across California Friday and Saturday, APS is asking customers to conserve energy this afternoon and evening.

“Given the extended heat wave in the western United States, APS is asking customers to conserve energy due to extreme energy demand that is driving usage higher throughout the region with today’s high temperatures,” APS said in a statement.

Tucson Electric Power has made a similar request of customers in its coverage area.

APS is asking customers to conserve energy in the following ways Tuesday until 8 p.m.:

· Raise thermostat settings to no lower than 80 degrees.

· Turn off extra lights and avoid use of discretionary major appliances such as clothes washers, dryers and dishwashers.

· Avoid operation of pool pumps.

The request from APS also came just hours after Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Burns sent a letter to electric utilities under the commission's umbrella, like APS, to see if they are in good shape or anticipate any problems given what had occurred in California. He requested the companies respond by noon Friday.

"The whole plan is to take a look at the system early in the Summer," Burns said. "Early May we look at the system, make sure we're ready and able to serve the public throughout the entire heat cycle."

Burns told ABC15 the Summer Preparedness workshop with utilities took place in May and the regulated utilities reported they were well equipped to meet the anticipated peaks of the Summer. Tuesday's letter to the electric companies seeks to see if they are still able to "adequately, safely and reliably" serve customers through the heatwave, or if what happened in California could take place here.

"With the activities that are occurring over in California we just want to double check," Burns said.

An APS representative told ABC15 they have adequate supply and reserve and don't anticipate any problems.

However, the rolling blackouts in California also caught the attention of Commissioner Lea Marquez Peterson. She is calling on the chairman to hold an emergency meeting.

"The risk to Arizonans and the fact that energy could be interrupted, that we had some kind of rolling blackout like California would have, would be really a public health issue," Peterson said. "It could be life and death in some cases for vulnerable populations."

Chairman Burns told ABC15 he feels there isn't a need for an emergency meeting, yet.

"We need to hear from the utilities and make sure everything is fine," Burns said. "If it isn't, then we may go that route."

ABC15 also reached out to SRP, which does not fall under the corporation commission's umbrella. Asked via email about potential energy restrictions for consumers, a representative sent the following:

SRP doesn’t anticipate any required energy reductions from our customers. That being said, this record heat will certainly stress our system – and all systems of utilities in the Southwest – so conserving energy whenever possible can assist us and is something we greatly appreciate from our customers.

For more information on how to conserve energy, click here.