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Published on June 22, 2024
As Mercury Rises, APS Gears Up for Record Energy Demand in Arizona's Sizzling SummerSource: Google Street View

As Arizona braces for a summer of blazing temperatures, Arizona Public Service (APS) is today's Atlas, burdened with the weight of a likely record-breaking energy demand. For the second consecutive year, APS anticipates a peak demand that could surpass last year’s 8,162 megawatts with an expectation of 8,400 megawatts, during the hottest times of the day. This forecast comes at a time when the utility serves a growing base of 1.4 million customers in a state known for its relentless heat.

APS is pushing heavily to ensure the reliability of their services amidst possible days of extreme heat, mirroring last year's 55 days of temperatures topping 110 degrees. According to FOX 10 Phoenix, Distribution Operation Center Manager Wesley Horne said, "We've never had to ask the customers not to use their air conditioning.” Horne further explained that the center is dedicated to monitoring and managing the grid around the clock, equipped with “scattered devices or remotely controlled devices” to reroute power when necessary.

Behind the scenes, APS's strategy for beating the heat includes an integrated planning approach, looking 15 to 20 years ahead to meet the evolving energy needs of their customers. As FOX 10 Phoenix reports, APS Director of Power Supply Services, Tim Rusert pointed out that the company procures resources and reserves well in advance of summer. Additionally, a diversified energy mix—from nuclear to solar and energy storage—helps keep power flow stable even during peak demand.

To further safeguard the grid, APS is embracing the dawning age of robotic assistants and aerial sentinels. From Spot the robot dog, designed to safely carry out inspections in hazardous environments, to drones equipped with sophisticated sensors, APS is investing in technology to maintain the integrity of its services. “We’re able to see probably twice as much, twice as fast with that type of technology," APS Predictive Maintenance Supervisor Scott Alford shared in an interview with 12 News. This high-tech route allows APS to anticipate issues before they can affect customers.

For consumers, APS doesn't just deliver power but also provides avenues to smart energy use. The company offers a smorgasbord of rate plans aimed at reduction of power bills, encouraging customers to engage with them to find the best fit. Yessica Del Rincon, an APS spokesperson, highlighted this customer-centric approach in an interview with 12 News. Rebates and incentives for smart thermostats are also part of the savings tapestry, along with advice to avoid power usage during peak heating periods from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

APS's proactivity extends beyond planning and resource allocation. Should power interruptions occur, APS offers an outage map for real-time updates, and a 24-7 call center stands ready to help customers. As the summer sun beats down on Arizona, APS lights the way forward in energy management and proactive customer service, preemptively addressing the challenges before they turn into crises.