Arizona utilities tell commission they are ready for summer 2016 power demand

Officials from in-state regulated utilities told the Arizona Corporation Commissioners on April 28 that they expect to have sufficient reserves to meet power demand during the upcoming peak summer months.

Arizona Public Service Electric (APS), Salt River Project (SRP), Tucson Electric Power (TEP), UniSource Energy Services (UNS), Arizona G & T Cooperatives, Transwestern Pipeline Co., and El Paso Natural Gas, all presented their “Summer Preparedness Plan” before the Arizona Commerce Commission.

Those plans include the companies’ estimated peak demands, a summary of their resources available to meet that demand, along with emergency, and communications plans in the event case of an outage.

APS, a Pinnacle West Capital (NYSE:PNW) subsidiary is projecting a peak demand of 6,986 MW with nearly 8,500 NW available resources to meet that demand. TEP, which is part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is forecasting a 2,091 MW peak demand with over 2,800 MW available, and SRP, a public power entity, estimates their peak demand at just over 6,700 with more than 8,000 MW available.

APS officials noted that there remains an abundant supply of cheap natural gas for power generation. The utility also reported that it issued an all-source request for proposals on March 11 seeking flexible capacity. APS expects to get 26% of its energy from natural gas and 25% from coal in 2016 and 26% will come from nuclear energy.

The Palo Verde nuclear units operated at better than 94% in 2015, APS reported.

“As we move towards summer, Arizonans will start cranking down the thermostats on their air conditioners,” said Chairman Doug Little. “This dramatically increases the amount of electricity our utilities must produce. One of the jobs of the Corporation Commission is to ensure that our utilities are prepared to supply the energy needs of the ratepayers, no matter how hot it gets or how much demand there is on the system. We want to make sure that contingency plans are in place to protect reliability in times of peak demand and minimize outages during the summer monsoons. Overall, our electric utilities do a fantastic job of providing affordable, reliable electricity to Arizonans.”

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 wayneb@pennwell.com.