Arizona utilities power up for high temperatures in coming days

Jul 23, 2018, 11:23 AM | Updated: 11:56 am




PHOENIX — As Arizonans prepare to crank up the air conditioning with temperatures expected to climb near 120 degrees, the state’s two largest utility companies said they’d be ready to supply the power that drives the refreshing blasts.

An excessive heat watch was issued for Monday through Wednesday. Highs could range from 114 to 118 degrees.

“We expect the loads could reach our all-time peaks – last year’s peak was about 7,400 megawatts. We’re ready to go,” Jeff Burke, director of resource planning for Arizona Public Service, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

Salt River Projects’ system peak last year was 7,219 megawatts, spokeswoman Patty Garcia-Likens said. “We plan for days just like this through the year.”

Thousands of Valley power customers have already suffered through hot, humid days without electricity after monsoon thunderstorms storms and flash flooding swept through earlier in the month.

Storms aside, “We make sure we’re prepared on an annual basis — we go through our transmissions lines, our transformers,” Burke said.

He added APS had a reserve margin “over and above what we need to serve customers for events like this.”

Overnight lows Monday could be 90 or 91 degrees, the National Weather Service said.

“When the overnight low is in the 90s, your air conditioner pretty much runs all the time,” Burke said.

SRP won’t schedule any maintenance work on days such as these.

“We don’t want any disruptions (to customer power),” Garcia-Likens said.

Worker safety is another reason.

Training for outdoor crews include emphasis on taking break and staying hydrated, she said.

Temperatures were likely to drop into the 103-104 degree range by the weekend.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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Arizona utilities power up for high temperatures in coming days