APS replaces record number of power poles following last weekend’s monsoon storms
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The severe monsoon weather has kept Arizona’s largest electric utility busy this season. According to APS, the state’s monsoon so far this year has already broken a record for the number of power poles the company has had to replace, and the season’s not over.
APS officials say that due to several severe storms that rolled through several communities across the state in a week, crews have been working to replace more than 400 power poles. Typically, APS crews said they only replace around 290 power poles every season. The company said some storms that blew through the northwest corner of Pinal County and Maricopa Counties had wind speeds of up to 60 mph Sunday night. In addition to damaging multiple power poles, the winds blew down large transmission towers and power lines that passed electricity from APS power plants into homes and businesses. Officials say at the height of Sunday night’s storms, about 32,000 APS customers were without power.
While many communities saw their power restored within hours, the company says Eloy and Arizona City saw the most damage, with about 7,000 customers experiencing extended outages through Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, a powerful storm Tuesday night near Douglas toppled more than 70 power poles, and crews are still working to restore power to the 330 customers impacted.
“We know it has been a challenging week for customers impacted by the severe storms, and we thank them for their patience, as our crews work safely around the clock to assess and repair the damage in order to get the lights back on,” said Tony Tewelis, vice president of transmission and distribution for APS. “While we monitor the weather daily in order to prepare our crews for possible outage response, exactly where and how severe the monsoon storms hit, can be unpredictable. As we prepare for what could be another active weekend of monsoon storms, rest-assured that our crews will be ready to respond as quickly and safely as they can.”
Monsoon can be unpredictable and develop quickly. The season officially lasts through the end of September, which means there’s still the possibility that future outages could happen with severe weather. APS has several suggestions and tips for customers to prepare ahead of storms:
- Create an emergency supply kit in case of a prolonged outage. The pack should contain non-perishable food items, water, a first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries, important phone numbers, a portable phone charger, and any necessary medication.
- If you have an automatic garage door, check the instructions to learn how to open it manually.
- Ensure your contact information with APS is up to date. Sign in to your aps.com account or call the APS Customer Care Center at (602) 371-7171 to update your email, text, and phone numbers so APS can reach you in the event of an outage.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage. Objects found in a typical backyard -- such as umbrellas, kiddie pools, and even trampolines can be swept up by high monsoon winds and end up in power lines, causing outages.
In the event you see a downed power line, APS says to always assume electrical equipment is energized and to stay at least 100 feet away, call 911, and then call APS. For more safety tips, click here.
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