With temperatures expected to be over 115 degrees for three to four consecutive days starting this weekend, utility companies are gearing up for the heat wave.
Patty Likes, a spokeswoman for Salt River Project which serves about 1 million customers in the greater Phoenix area said summer preps usually started during the cold winter months.
Almost half of all the energy usage comes during the summer months, said Likens.
"It's all about maintenance," she said. "It's looking at our transmission lines, sub-stations, receiving stations; it's making sure they're up to speed and well maintained so we don't have to work on them in hot summer months."
Utility companies are also ready to have extra crews on stand-by through the intense days of heat that are just days away.
"We'll have extra crews working, extra crews on call ready, trouble shooters ready," she said. "We'll make sure our equipment yards are ready with things we need to replace any equipment or outages we might have."
SRP projects how much electricity will be used on the hottest day of the year in order to have that supply ready. They do that by looking at customer usage patterns and by using historical data. SRP will then try to have an additional reserve available to dispatch should demand go higher. Likens said SRP maintains reserves of about 15% should power demand exceed expectations on any given day.
SRP also advises customers to sign up for budget billing programs to keep their summer electric bills in check.
Likens said there are simple, low cost things you could do around your house to help reduce your electric bill. Any open window that allows sunlight into your house should be blocked, using drapes or blinds. She recommends opening up all the air conditioning vents in your home, and turning off fans if you leve the room.
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