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TEP asks customers to conserve power during heat wave hitting southern Arizona

TEP is asking customers to conserve power from 3-7 p.m. this week as southern Arizona suffers...
TEP is asking customers to conserve power from 3-7 p.m. this week as southern Arizona suffers through several days of excessive heat.
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 5:16 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - TEP is asking customers to conserve power from 3-7 p.m. each day this week as southern Arizona suffers through several days of excessive heat.

Cutting back now will also help customers save money, according to TEP.

“Although TEP expects to have enough energy to serve customers, our regional grid will be under strain as temperatures rise,” the company said in a news release. “The California Independent System Operator, which oversees that state’s grid, issued a ‘Heat Bulletin’ for the week and is urging providers to have all available resources online.”

Local energy usage reaches its highest levels during the time of 3-7 p.m.

TEP offered the following tips for cutting back on usage.

  • Turn up your thermostat. Consider setting it at 78 degrees or higher, at a level you can safely tolerate.
  • Pre-cool your home before 3 p.m., when summer on-peak hours begins. Begin by setting the thermostat three degrees lower than your preferred setting at noon, then move to a higher temperature setting during on-peak hours.
  • Cook meals before 3 p.m., then heat them up in the microwave at dinnertime.
  • Avoid using non-essential appliances and equipment.
  • Adjust timers to ensure that pool pumps operate at night, not during the day.
  • Avoid use of electric laundry dryers or other appliances during the day that can raise the interior temperature of your home or business.
  • Use shades, blinds or curtains to keep sunlight out, especially during the afternoon in rooms facing west.
  • Additional conservation tips are available online at www.tep.com/tips.

Customers using one of TEP’s three time-of-use pricing plans can save money every month by reducing their on-peak energy usage.  TOU plans offer lower rates during “off-peak” and higher rates during “on-peak”  hours, both of which change with the seasons. Summer on-peak hours are 3-7 p.m. weekdays May through September, while winter on-peak hours are 6-9 a.m. and 6-9 p.m. October through April. All weekends and major holidays are always off-peak.

Conservation during on-peak hours also supports service reliability by helping ensure the availability of energy resources for everyone who needs them. While TEP has taken steps to prepare for the summer heat, unrelenting high temperatures could impact the western energy grid. TEP and other Arizona utilities rely on the wholesale market to supplement the resources we’ve secured to serve our own customers’ energy needs, which are highest during the summer.

If energy supplies can’t keep up with demand, grid operators must find ways to reduce usage to balance customers’ energy demands and available resources. These steps can include shutting off service for customers participating in “demand response” programs or using interruptible rates. As a last option, grid operators can employ short outages that are rotated through different parts of town to avoid lengthy interruptions for any one group of customers.

Conserving energy during on-peak hours can help TEP ensure that such steps remain rare, said Erik Bakken, Vice President of System Operations and Energy Resources.

“We appreciate our customers’ help in supporting reliable, affordable electric service for everyone,” Bakken said. “As temperatures rise this week, we’ll be watching our system closely and making sure we’re ready to respond immediately to any issues that do arise.”