Local energy suppliers prepare for summer months

While other states fear an energy shortage, Southern Arizona providers say they are prepared.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 10:34 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -With hotter-than-normal temperatures expected this summer, southern Arizona energy suppliers say they have been preparing for potential energy shortages for months.

While it is a concern for states across the country, local providers say they do not expect to see a problem here.

“Our record peak energy usage happened about two years ago, and it was approximately 2400 megawatts. We’re predicting that this summer, we’re going to be using hundreds of fewer megawatts than that,” said Joseph Barrios, spokesperson for Tucson Electric Power.

Barrios said being accustomed to the heat has put local suppliers in a better position than other states to respond.

“What we do before summer is, we take a look at past weather patterns, we look at past energy usage, we look at forecasts, and we try and determine, okay, at the height of things, how much power are we going to need to provide to customers, then we make arrangements so that we can provide even more than that if necessary,” said Barrios.

Barrios added that TEP has also invested in new equipment, which will be helpful.

“We spent more than $290 million on improvements to poles and wires, substations, and other equipment that we use to deliver service to customers,” said Barrios.

Due to all their preparations, suppliers don’t expect any major power outages due to energy supply.

“We rely on a lot of things in preparing for an extreme weather event, whether it’s hot weather, storms, we tried to make sure we have all of those kinds of contingencies covered,” said Dan Wilson, senior vice president of operations for Sulphur Springs Valley Electric.

But if, at any time, either supplier needs more energy, they will acquire it to meet demands.

In terms of rates, Wilson said Sulphur Valley Springs customers won’t see any major increase. Barrios added that customers usually see an increase during the summer months because they are using more. And this year, they will see a little extra on top of their pay.

“There’s a temporary surcharge in place. Now that took effect in May, it’ll last for approximately a year, but that will add about $10 to customers’ bills. So again, when you put it all together, customers may see an increase in their bill,” said Barrios.

But suppliers said there are many ways people can save money and energy this summer. Keep your windows closed, run a fan instead of the air conditioning, and adjust the thermostat.

“Anything people can do to avoid using extra energy during the peak times in the evening, avoiding washing or drying clothes right in those peak times would help the system greatly,” said Wilson.

Barrios added that for any customer who is struggling with their bill this summer, there are programs in place through TEP to help them manage their bill.

More information on how to save money and energy this summer can be found on TEP’s website here and Sulphur Springs Valley Electric here.

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