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Excessive heat in Arizona impacting electricity grid

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Last year, around this time, several states in our country had rolling blackouts because of the heat and the increase in energy.

So how is Arizona fairing this year as the Grand Canyon State reaches record new highs?

News 4 Tucson spoke with officials from the three electric companies here in southern Arizona to find out.

"Every year, we go through a very in-depth process just to make sure that we have the power supply that we need for the hot temperatures here in Arizona," Laree St. Onge, TRICO Electric said.

With an excessive heat warning here in southern Arizona, more people are cranking their air conditioning, ultimately using more electricity.

"Even though they don't make a change to their thermostat, their air conditioning system has to work harder because those temperatures are sustained throughout the day," Joe Barrios of Tucson Electric Power said.

Officials from TEP, Sulphur Springs Valley and TRICO all say as temperatures climb, it is important for us all to work to conserve energy.

"The heatwave that we're experiencing right now is affecting not just Arizona, but many parts of the west," Barrios said. "And, in circumstances like that, the amount of energy that is available it's in short supply and it does create a challenge for us."

Conserving energy will not only prevent our grid from being at capacity, but it could save you money.

"We have a program that encourages our largest members," Eric Petermann, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric said. "That provides an incentive for them to consume less in this time and that helps as well."

As for now, all three companies we checked in with say they do not anticipate any blackouts this Summer. But as weather can change, they say they are prepared.

"We don't expect any major impacts to the grid but in the event that there are any impacts to the grid," St. Onge said. "We do have plans in place to work through that it's a step-down process."

For more ways to save on electricity, contact your service provider.

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Denelle Confair

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