Electric companies encourage energy conservation during extreme heat

Updated: Jun. 19, 2021 at 10:35 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - We’ve had a week of record high temperatures, and that’s creating a challenging summer for electric companies as they try to keep up with the heat and high energy demand.

Electric companies are asking customers to cut back on energy as much as they can.

The extreme prolonged heat we’ve seen this week creates additional stress on our local energy grid.

“We have had more weather-related outages than usual, and that’s due to equipment that failed under heavy load and hot weather,” Tucson Electric’s Sherri Cadeaux said.

Even though the heat came early this year, TEP acquired additional resources to combat outages and the possibility of rolling blackouts.

“We believe we are well prepared here in Arizona,” Cadeaux said. “Rolling blackouts can result from a shortage in energy resources. TEP has secured enough resources to give us a 20% reserve margin heading into this hot summer. So that’s higher than our normal 15% target, but it does give us additional resources if weather is unusually hot as it has been or if some of our resources are unavailable.”

Even with the additional resources, TEP said there is a risk of putting too much stress on the grid due to high energy demand during peak hours of the day. Customers can find ways to help right inside their homes.

“It’s important customers do their part to help us conserve energy and to avoid any reliability issues,” Cadeaux said. “We would ask if they can conserve any energy from 3-7 p.m., that certainly helps ease some of the strain on our grid.”

Some ways TEP suggests conserving energy include bumping up your thermostat to 78 degrees after 3 p.m., using appliances in the morning or early afternoon and keeping blinds and drapes closed.

“That will help keep their energy bill lower while providing service reliability for the community,” Cadeaux said.

Outages can last anywhere from seconds to several hours.

Because of the dangerous temperatures, it’s important to have a plan. This includes having plenty of water, knowing the locations of the city’s cooling stations, or being able to stay with a friend or family member until your power is back on.

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