ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona regulators want utilities to prove they can meet energy needs

Aug 19, 2020, 4:45 AM | Updated: 7:24 am
(Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Now that Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project have asked customers to conserve energy, two members of the Arizona Corporation Commission want utility companies to prove they have enough power to keep air conditioners running.

Blackouts forced by companies in California over the weekend left three million people in the dark — and in the heat. A similar situation could prove deadly in Arizona.

“There are some vulnerable populations,” Commissioner Lea Márquez Petersen told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“Turning off electricity at any time during this intense summer heat could be pretty detrimental.”

Petersen and fellow Commissioner Justin Olson are also calling for an emergency public meeting with utility companies to prove “that they have the resources necessary to meet Arizonans’ needs for energy during these hot summer months,” Olson said.

They also want utilities to prove they won’t need to buy expensive extra energy on the wholesale market and raise customer rates. Petersen says COVID-19 has cut deep into too many wallets.

“Especially as these people have been furloughed and laid off and small businesses are suffering, we need to make sure we still have safe, reliable and affordable energy,” she said.

The commissioners support solar energy, but Olson says that cannot be generated at night.

“There are still those critical hours in the evening period when there’s still a large demand for energy and there’s not as much supply — that gap needs to be closed,” Olson said.

“California has refused to build the capacity that’s necessary to meet that demand.”

Even if renewable energy worked more effectively, Petersen says it wouldn’t be enough for Arizona or California.

“California lacked the supply and needed to go out to the open market, and they sucked up a lot of that additional energy,” she added.

Despite the heat, Olson doesn’t foresee Arizona suffering rolling blackouts like California.

“We have enacted policies that are common sense policies as we move forward and develop a reliable energy grid,” he said.

Earlier this summer, utility companies showed their summer preparedness plans to the Arizona Corporation Commission, proving they could provide enough energy during the record-breaking heat. They’ll have to update the plans by Friday.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Mesa International Film Festival kicks off on Friday

The third Mesa International Film Festival will kick off in the Valley on Friday with plenty of films scheduled for the weekend. 
5 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Murder charge in Arizona against divorce lawyer dismissed

A murder charge filed in Arizona against a California lawyer in the 2010 shooting death of his stepdaughter’s husband has been dismissed.
1 day ago
(Pexels photo)...
KTAR.com

2-year-old girl dies after drowning incident in Phoenix

A 2-year-old girl has died after being pulled out of a pool in Phoenix on Thanksgiving day, police said.
1 day ago
(The Pick Lottery Photo)...
KTAR.com

The Pick lottery ticket sold at Walmart in Surprise hits $8.8 million jackpot

If you bought a ticket for Wednesday night's The Pick lottery drawing in the West Valley, you'll want to check those numbers.
1 day ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
KTAR.com

Police investigate death of 27-year-old man found in Phoenix

Police are investigating the death of a 27-year-old man found in Phoenix Thursday morning.
1 day ago
FILE - Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit in a cooler before being thawed at a pop-u...
KTAR.com

Arizona reports 3,322 new COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths on Friday

Arizona health officials on Friday reported 3,322 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
Arizona regulators want utilities to prove they can meet energy needs