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Summer heat is ahead along with higher power bills

This image provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency shows a person programming a thermostat for a furnace/HVAX system. (US Environmental Protection Agency via AP)

PHOENIX — Nobody likes popping open the monthly bill and seeing an eye-popping amount owed.

Jenna Shaver with APS said there are a few ways you can reduce the sticker shock.

“It’s as easy as one, two, three. For every one degree people turn the thermostat up, they can save 2 percent to 3 percent on the AC portion of the energy bill, and we want people for notifications at APS.com,” Shaver said. “It will give you up-to-the-minute information by text or email on all things related to outages, usage and billing.”

APS is forecasting a summer peak of 6,986 megawatts and nearly 8,500 megawatts of power available to serve customers. Shaver said they are well prepared to meet energy demands during the hottest days of the year.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station has been the nation’s largest power producer for 24 years running, and it provides 80 percent of Arizona’s carbon-free energy. APS will use more natural gas and less coal and will be able to tap 1,300 megawatts of renewable energy on the system including solar.

The utility hopes to avoid a repeat of last summer when they had highest number of outages caused by lightning, rain and wind during the monsoon in five years.

“It was a crazy summer. We lost a record 568 power poles. Crews used the cooler months to install more steel poles as stopper poles. This helps prevent longer stretches of poles coming down during high monsoon winds,” said Shaver. “We want people to be prepared to deal with possible outages. Put together an emergency supply kit that contains non-perishable food items, water, a first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries and any necessary medication.”

The monsoon season officially arrives June 15 by the calendar, the date set by the National Weather Service even though the Valley usually see its first rainfall during the first days of July. It ends September 30.

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