Tag Archives: monsoon season

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SRP Improves Power Outage Map Features

This monsoon season Salt River Project electric customers now have access to more information, thanks to improvements that have been added during the year to SRP’s online Power Outage Map.

The SRP power outage page has been reimaged and allows for easier navigation. On mobile devices, the map is full screen and allows users easier control. Also, reporting an outage is now integrated into the outage page.

“We are constantly looking to improve our customers’ ability to learn about power outages in their area,” said Glen Traasdahl, director of SRP Technology Services. “By looking at what services our customers use and combining it with their valuable feedback, we roll out improvements all year long.”

The new-look outage page now contains more accurate information about each outage, with color-coded boxes that better describe the size of the outage. For example, during the season’s first summer storm on July 3 when more than 14,000 customers were out of power, SRP’s outage map looked like a rainbow with multi-colored boxes showing specific outages in yellow (1 to 100 customers affected), orange (101 to 500 affected), red (501 to 1,000 affected) and purple (more than 1,001 affected). Also, if the outage is a major one in which customers will be out of power for an extended period, a blue box will show the location of where customers can go to pick up free ice.

SRP is also working to provide faster, real-time information, with a goal of providing customers an outage update within 30 minutes of the start of the outage, said Wayne Wisdom, SRP’s director of Electric System Operations. He said that quicker information should be available later this summer.

“We’ll communicate the actual cause in the 30 minutes after the outage has begun for as many outages as we can,” said Wisdom. “If we are not able to determine the cause in this first 30 minutes, we’ll at least update the outage reason within 30 minutes by letting customers know that we’re investigating it and will get a cause identified as soon as we can.”

Wisdom said SRP currently represents outages based on geographical boundaries. Any customer who has signed up for e-notification and whose account lies within those boundaries is notified, he said.

“In the future we may still describe the outage based on a geographical boundary, but we will only notify those customers who are actually affected by the power outage. This means we’ll be able to be more descriptive in our communications,” he said. “For example, today we indicate that a power outage has been reported in your area. In the future, we’ll be able to say that your account/premise is being affected by a power outage.”

SRP first made its expanded power outage map available for all customers in advance of the 2012 monsoon season. Prior to that, the website feature was available only to SRP customers with a My Account ID. That was also the first summer storm season in which the SRP outage map was made available from a smart phone or tablet, which is particularly valuable to affected customers who are looking for real-time information about the estimated time that power will be restored.

By signing up for a notification on My Account, SRP’s online management tool, customers are also able to be alerted via email or text when their home is in an area where an outage has occurred. SRP also routinely posts updates and outage information on Twitter and Facebook during major storms. To get connected, follow @SRPconnect on Twitter or “like” SRP’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/srpconnect. During a power outage, SRP customer service representatives can be reached at (602) 236-8888.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing electric service to more than 990,000 customers.

Erik in front of building high res July 2014

How to protect AC unit during monsoons

Is your air conditioner ready for the dust storms, torrential downpours, thunder and lightning that is monsoon season? When an air conditioning system stops working during an Arizona summer, it is the worst and it can be very costly to repair or replace. Preventative maintenance is key to keeping you cool in the hot summer months.

“We live in an area where the nature is acute all the time, so we are always susceptible to failures,” said Erik Bryan, owner of Precision Air and Heating. “When you add a monsoon, it just amplifies the fact we are in a critical climate in the desert.”

Monsoons are a fact of life in the valley, but they do not have to be disastrous. The biggest threat to an air conditioning unit during monsoon season, according to Bryan, is the humidity and electrical surges from the lightning. Make sure your central air conditioner is protected from those strikes and power surges with a surge protector to stay safe and cool during the season. A surge protector for an air conditioner can be insurance for your unit.

Lightning does not have to hit a home directly to cause a power surge. A lightning strike within a half-mile of a home can damage the air conditioner. Each strike delivers up to 20,000 volts of electricity through a home, which is more than enough to take out a central air unit.

“We use power strips at home for our computers to prevent a spike of electricity from damaging components inside,” Bryan said. “An air conditioner is no different.”

It can be crucial for those living in the valley to make sure that their systems are protected from the monsoons that flow into Arizona, but do not forget about making sure everything is running smoothly with your heater when the cooler months arrive.

Preventative maintenance is still essential, but a much bigger concern exists for people who have gas heat to make sure everything is checked so there are no leaks.

“Carbon monoxide asphyxiation is a very very real thing, it is a silent killer. We lose people ever year who turn their heaters on without getting them checked,” stated Bryan.

If the temperature is not just right, being comfortable is very out of reach. Air conditioning is one thing you should not take your chances with, so do not let monsoon season get in the way.

Power Outage Map

SRP’s Expanded Power Outage Map Available In Time For Monsoon Season

The monsoon season can produce potentially dangerous storms and worrisome moments for Valley residents.

To minimize uncertainty during bad weather or power outages all SRP customers can now visit the SRP website at any time to check on the status of a power outage. During its pilot launch last summer, the website feature was available during storm activity only to customers with a MyAccount ID.

“With the newly expanded power outage map, SRP customers, Valley media and concerned residents can easily obtain outage facts by scrolling over yellow pushpins on the map that share information such as the affected area, number of people impacted, and expected time of repair,” said Glen Traasdahl, SRP’s director of Technology Services.

Valley resident also can access the power outage map from a smart phone or tablet, and get the same information regarding each outage area.

“In addition to being able to look at the power outage map 24/7, SRP customers can now be alerted via email or text when their home is in an area where an outage has occurred by signing up for a notification on My Account,” added Renee Castillo, senior director of customer services. To learn more, visit www.srpnet.com and search My Account.

SRP also would like to remind Valley residents of these summer safety tips:

  • Try to remain indoors during a storm.
  • If caught outdoors, stay at least 100 feet from any downed power line.
  • Never try to help someone trapped by a power line.  The line could be energized and endanger your own safety.  Instead, immediately call 911 for help.  Then call SRP’s emergency number, (602) 236-8811, to report the incident.
  • If a power line hits your car while you are in it, stay inside the car until professional help arrives.
  • If your vehicle catches fire and you must leave it, avoid making contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time.  Jump from the vehicle, landing with both feet together.  Shuffle or hop away, keeping both feet in contact with each other until you are at least 100 feet from the vehicle.  This may avoid making your body a ground path between energized and grounded areas or objects.
  • Do not shower during a storm. Lightning can travel through pipes.
  • Do not swim during a storm. Lightning can strike bodies of water.
  • Lightning can travel through electric lines and damage electronic equipment.  Therefore, when practical, unplug the power cords to all electronic equipment to provide total protection from lightning-induced damage.

SRP routinely posts updates and outage information on Twitter and Facebook during major storms. To get connected, follow @SRPconnect on Twitter or “like” SRP’s Facebook page. During a power outage, SRP customer service representatives can be reached at (602) 236-8888.

SRP is the third-largest public power utility in the nation, serving nearly 945,000 electric customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

summer energy demand

APS Prepared To Meet Summer Energy Demand

As summer energy demand increases, APS reminds its customers it is well positioned to meet their energy needs over the next three months.

This message is the key theme of a three-minute APS-produced video that can be viewed on YouTube: youtube.com/arizonapublicservice. The video features interviews with company officials about this summer’s peak demand forecast, the resources available to serve that demand, a summary of APS’s system improvements, and the steps the company takes to prepare for wildfires and other emergencies.

“One of our most important jobs each year is to make sure the APS system is ready when the summer heat arrives,” said Daniel Froetscher, APS Vice President of Energy Delivery. “We invest in the electricity grid, secure an ample supply of power for even the hottest days, and prepare in advance for storms, wildfires and other events that can cause power outages. When outages do occur, our top priority is to get the lights back on quickly and safely, while communicating regularly with our customers about our efforts to restore the power.”

In preparation for meeting the needs of its customers this summer, APS in 2011 invested about $250 million in system improvements. This included more than 40 miles of new and rebuilt power lines and the construction of seven new substations throughout the company’s service territory.

This summer, APS anticipates a peak of 7,067 megawatts (MW), compared with the 2011 summer peak of 7,087 MW, which occurred on Aug. 24, during the hottest monsoon season ever recorded in the Valley. Between its existing generation, and long- and short-term contracts, APS has 8,696 MW of resources available to help meet summer demand.

The all-time APS system peak of 7,236 MW was set on July 21, 2006. (The summer peak – the 15-minute period when APS customers require the most energy – typically occurs in July or August between 5 and 6 p.m.)

APS successfully met peak demand in 2011 while providing its 1.1 million customers with record high levels of reliability. For the year, the typical APS customer experienced 0.79 power outages compared to a national industry median of 1.12 interruptions. Meanwhile, the typical APS customer experienced 69 minutes of interrupted service in 2011, compared with an industry median of 114 minutes. Both marks are APS records and fall within or near the top quartile of the industry.

In the event of large-scale customer outages, the company utilizes its Twitter outage feed, @APSOutageCenter, to provide real-time updates to its customers and other key audiences.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW)

For more information on APS’s ability to meet the summer energy demand, visit APS’s website at aps.com.