Arizona electric utilities say they are ready to meet summer demand

Power providers in Arizona told the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) April 15 that they stand ready to meet peak electric demand during the coming hot summer.

Presentations were made to the commission by Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), Tucson Electric Power (TEP), UNS Electric, Salt River Project (SRP), and from Arizona’s electric cooperatives.

While the providers said that they expect high demand this year, representatives explained that they have energy reserves to exceed the peak demand expected on the hottest of summer days.

For example, APS forecasts a peak of 6,886 MW, and has 9,095 MW of resources available to help meet that demand. TEP forecasts a peak of 2,222 MW, and has 2,490 MW of resources available to help meet that demand, the ACC said in a news release.

Each utility also described their energy mix, showing a diverse portfolio of generation sources. The utilities also touched on issues raning from transmission upgrades to wildfires and monsoon season.

APS is part of Pinnacle West Capital (NYSE:PNW); Tucson and UNS are part of Canada-based Fortis (TSX:FTS).

In its presentation, APS said that its minimum reserve will probably drop from 35% in 2015 to 15% in 2017. APS noted that the Palo Verde nuclear plant has all its necessary fuel in the reactors and the Four Corners coal plant has about 80-to-90 days of reserves on hand. APS also said it has sufficient pipeline transportation and supply under contract to meet peak demand.

Tucson reported that its 2015 resource capacity will be split among coal (42%); natural gas capacity (35%); combustion-turbine capacity (8%); short-term market resources (12%) and utility-scale renewable (2%). Demand response can account for four-tenths of 1%, the utility said.

A weather-related website called ranks Arizona as the 10th hottest state in America for both winter and summer based on state-wide average temperatures. The same website also ranks Phoenix as the second driest city in the nation, with Las Vegas being ranked the driest city in the nation.

In addition to demonstrating their ability to handle the electricity needs of their customers for the coming season, the utilities included information on emergency planning efforts and coordination as well as customer communication procedures. Information about service disruptions can be obtained through each utilities’ 24/7 call centers, automated phone messages, news media and social media.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at