Behind the scenes of APS: Restoring power after a monsoon storm

PHOENIX - When monsoon storms hit the valley, the power is often one of the first casualties. And with summer temperatures reaching triple digits, having no air conditioning can quickly become an emergency.

“It can happen at a moment’s notice, so we need to be proactive,” said Kelley Coats, a Customer Care Center Manager for Arizona Public Service.

APS brings in extra staff during the summer months, with 300 people on hand to answer all the calls coming in.

As soon as the call center identifies the location of the outage, a technician is sent out to determine the problem and how to fix it.

“There’s going to be monsoon storms every year,” said Steven Gotfried with APS. “When they do happen we have transformers come down, we have poles come down, we have wires that get cut by tree limbs.”

Crews pick up the supplies they need at storage yards strategically located across the Valley and the state.

“We have to have them all ready to go at a moment's notice,” Gotfried said.

Finally, the Distribution Operations Center is the brains of the operation. The staff is constantly updating detailed maps with up-to-the-minute information about outages. They are also in constant contact with crews in the field, tracking every step of the sensitive process.

“Restoring electricity is a very dangerous job,” said Gotfried. “These people make sure everything is safe before power goes back through the lines.”

While many people assume APS is aware of the outages as they happen, the company actually relies on customers to call in and inform them, so they can map out the problem areas and quickly restore power.

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