Summer storms knock over hundreds of APS poles

Posted at 3:51 PM, Sep 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-21 18:51:59-04

Arizona is in the midst of its monsoon season and Arizona Public Service will be replacing 485 poles that have been knocked down by these storms. 

Thanks to five powerful storms throughout the summer, with winds reaching up to 90 miles per hour, thousands of customers lost power - which was an 81 percent increase from last year. However, the majority of customers were restored within 24 hours.

“We track the weather on a daily basis, so we know what’s rolling in and can prepare our employees to mobilize quickly if a storm hits,” said Ted Geisler, Director of Transmission Operations and Maintenance for APS.

“There have been several occasions this summer when I’ve walked out of our building in downtown Phoenix and it felt like walking into a hurricane. The winds were unbelievably strong; we knew immediately that our crews would be faced with the challenging task of rebuilding parts of our system.”

In 2014, APS lost 268 poles and that number has already doubled this year, but the season is not quite over yet.

“Each season brings its own set of challenges,” said Geisler. “This year, 2015 has been the summer of wind.”

APS crews train to be able to face weather issues in the field with maintained and accessible equipment and supplies.

A typical pole has a life of 35 to 40 years and APS currently has more than 420,000 poles in its system. This summer, APS has replaced more than 2,600 poles.

“Our goal is to keep the lights on,” said Geisler. “Our commitment to public service is something we take very seriously, and we want our customers to know that when the lights go out, we’re working to restore power and make our system whole.”