Salt River Project’s electric customers continue to give SRP higher marks for customer satisfaction, according to a study issued today by J.D. Power. With an increase of 8 index points from a year ago, SRP ranks highest for residential electric service in the western United States among Large electric utilities for the 14th consecutive year.
With a Customer Satisfaction Index score of 738 on a 1,000-point scale in this year’s ranking, it is the 16th time in 17 years (1999, 2000, 2002-2015) that SRP scored the highest in the West among large electric utilities (500,000 or more residential customers). The average score in the West Large Utility region, which covers utilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, is 677.
SRP’s score was bolstered by ranking highest in the study’s Large Utilities segment in the West region for all six factors, Power Quality and Reliability, Billing and Payment, Corporate Citizenship, Price, Communications and Customer Service.
The 2015 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 102,000 online interviews conducted by J.D. Power from July 2014 through May 2015 among residential customers of the 140 largest electric utility brands across the nation, which collectively represent more than 96 million households.
SRP’s top ranking in West Large region in the 2015 J.D. Power residential study marks its 24th award in the first 17 years that J.D. Power has surveyed SRP’s residential and business customers.
In addition to today’s announcement of the 2015 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study results, in a report issued in January by J.D. Power SRP ranked highest in customer satisfaction for business electric service among Large electricity providers in the West Region. It was the second consecutive year and the fifth time in the last six years SRP was ranked highest among Large utilities in the West in the Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study.
SRP in the past year has enhanced its website, www.srpnet.com, making it easier for customers to use from any mobile device. Among the most popular recent additions has been improved access to more information about power outages in their neighborhoods and throughout the Valley.
During monsoon season, for example, SRP already is communicating to customers via the web and mobile devices information about outages, estimates on when the power will be restored and – when possible – the cause of the outage. By signing up for a notification on My Account, SRP’s online management tool, customers are now also able to be alerted via email or text when their home is in an area where an outage has occurred as well as when the power is restored.
When Salt River Project launched its biodiesel pilot program in 1999, there was no guarantee or expectation that it would grow or become as successful as it is 16 years later. To date, 41 percent of the vehicles in SRP’s fleet are powered by B-20 biodiesel fuel, which is a blend of 20 percent vegetable oil and 80 percent diesel fuel.
“Currently, SRP has about 2,300 vehicles — ranging from sedans to construction equipment. Among that fleet, almost 950 automobiles utilize B-20 biodiesel,” said Becky Lawrence, SRP’s senior business technician with Transportation Services. “SRP vehicles log 15 million miles a year, so we realized, long ago, that we needed to use biodiesel and be more environmentally conscious.”
SRP’s Transportation Services department is a key player in quickly and reliably moving water and power to SRP customers by supporting the construction and maintenance infrastructure. Transportation Services constantly strives to improve the energy efficiency of SRP’s fleet to further strengthen SRP’s commitment to be environmental stewards within the community, Lawrence said.
“In 2014, SRP used more than 603,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel, which is enough to fill roughly 40 backyard swimming pools, and equates to 37 percent of our total fuel mix,” she added “I’m excited we are making such a positive impact on the environment. We are reducing emissions and I feel like I’m doing my part in being environmentally responsible.”
According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, B-20 reduces carbon monoxide emissions by 15 percent. It also has helped SRP save money and diversify its fuel supply.
“We are not tied down to just one option for fuel, and that is beneficial because it allows us to diversify our fleet, said Lawrence. “It’s been cost effective as well because it allows us to comply with federal regulations.” SRP plans to continue to grow its biodiesel fleet and will be purchasing about 30 more B-20 pieces of equipment this year. As new vehicles are purchased many are sent directly from the factory equipped to take biodiesel straight from the pump.
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.
East Valley Partnership, a coalition of civic, business, educational and political leaders dedicated to the economic development and promotion of the East Valley of Greater Phoenix, is hosting a Salt River Project lunch forum, “Keeping Water Flowing” beginning at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, June 9 at Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, located at 60 E. 5th St. in Tempe.
Attendees of the SRP Forum event will hear remarks from Governor Doug Ducey, SRP CEO and General Manager Mark Bonsall, and Sarah Porter, director of Kyl Center on Water Policy at Morrison Institute.
“Arizona’s vitality comes from sound management, responsible action and finding smart solutions to complex problems. That’s especially true when it comes to how we manage our water,” said Governor Ducey. “Water is one of the most dynamic components of our state, and a crucial player in the health and strength of our economy – it’s imperative that we have our fair share. I look forward to working with our state’s leaders to protect this precious resource and ensure a prosperous future for Arizona.”
Governor Ducey will address the important role dependable, renewable water supplies have played in Arizona’s history and how water is essential for Arizona’s economic future.
“SRP has long understood the critical connection between economic development and dependable water resources,” said SRP CEO and General Manager Mark Bonsall, “and we are eager to work with Governor Ducey to tackle these issues.”
The SRP Forum is open to the public. Individual registration is $75 for East Valley Partnership members and $100 for non-members. Table reservations can be made for $1,000 for members and $1,250 for non-members. Presenting sponsorship is available for $3,500.
Seating is limited and reservations are requested online at www.EVP-AZ.org or by phone at 480-834-8335 ext. 201.
The 2015 Super Bowl kicked off an unprecedented run for the Phoenix metro area as the host of mega-sporting events. But if the Valley is going to continue to lure Super Bowls, NCAA championship football games and Final Fours, leaders in the sports community say the current system needs to be improved.
“We’re playing with a bow and arrow and everybody else is playing with a howitzer,” said Jon Schmieder, founder and CEO of the Huddle Up Group that is based in Phoenix and consults with sports commissions across the country.
The howitzer belongs to cities like Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Miami that have deep pockets and one central sports commission with full-time staffers.
Phoenix, in conjunction with Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa, won bids for high-profile collegiate and professional events without the benefit of a unified sports commission to spearhead the effort. The successful bids were the results of hard work by dozens of people around the city, none of whom work together under one roof on a regular basis.
Phoenix might be in danger of falling behind other cities if it doesn’t update the system used to organize these events.
In 2016, the College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium. One year later, the Men’s Final Four rolls into the Valley.
These rotating events complement the annual large-scale sporting events that call the Greater Phoenix area home. For more than 40 years, college football pageantry has descended on the Valley with the Fiesta Bowl and, more recently, the Cactus Bowl. Phoenix International Raceway hosts two NASCAR races every year. The Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale is arguably the most raucous and fan-friendly tournament on the PGA Tour.
And the city hosted two Super Bowls in seven years.
When the pieces fit together, the picture seems clear: Phoenix has carved out a place among the major host cities of the nation’s biggest sporting events.
The question now becomes: Can the metro area maintain its hot streak?
David Rousseau, president of the Salt River Project and chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, worries the current system of assembling a different committee each time a new event comes to town could hinder future attempts to secure and produce the events.
“That (system), at some point, is going to start to be this frayed, fragmented effort,” he said. “I think there’s some value in just continuing to improve upon and refine that effort and you can only do that if you have that one platform model as opposed to startup efforts every time a new bid opportunity comes by.”
Only one person served on both the 2008 and 2015 Super Bowl host committees. Several members of the 2015 committee have transitioned to the Arizona Organizing Committee that will produce the college football championship game. But the majority of the Super Bowl host committee members have taken other jobs and gone their separate ways.
Each loss means some institutional knowledge gained from valuable experience is siphoned off, but the lack of overall consistency in personnel from committee to committee doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in the quality of the event.
By all accounts, the 2015 Super Bowl was a major success for the Valley. Rousseau hopes the economic impact report being produced by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business will show numbers that equal or exceed the half-billion dollars of direct-spend money he said was captured around the 2008 game.
“We’ve never been better in terms of customer satisfaction than we are right now but we don’t have a staff to go ahead and go forward and secure that commitment for future bids,” Rousseau said.
Tom Sadler, president of the Arizona Organizing Committee, shined a positive light on the current model but also acknowledged there might be a better way to operate.
“I wouldn’t say it puts us at a disadvantage when we are bidding head to head … because at the end of the day we’ll rise to the occasion,” he said. “Could it be more efficient to have an overarching commission overseeing this so we’re not reinventing the wheel every year? The answer is yes.”
Sadler is a busy man in the landscape of mega-events en route to the Valley. As president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, he is the head of the group that oversees the operation of University of Phoenix Stadium. He was also co-bid chair for the Final Four.
“I would like to see an organization that would respond to not just the big three mega events – Super Bowl, college champ, Final Four – but soccer events, entertainment events, to be an agency that’s nimble enough to be on the leading edge of competition with these other cities,” Sadler said.
Cities that perennially host major sporting events in the country are the competition: Miami, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco and Indianapolis. The New York Super Bowl opened the door for so-calledcold-weather cities to host the game.
Minneapolis was awarded the game in 2018, to be played in a new domed stadium.
Those cities, as well as many others in the rotation for at least one of the big events, have one central sports commission to oversee the recruitment and coordination of events of all sizes. The size and scope of the commission varies from city to city.
Individual committees can be formed on an as-needed basis or the commission itself can double as the host committee, as is the case with the Dallas Sports Commission.
“The sports commission is the local organizing committee (for the 2017 Women’s Final Four),” said Larry Kelly, communications and marketing manager for the Dallas Sports Commission. “It varies event to event but on all the collegiate and amateur events that we bring in, we’re the local organizing committee. And then on the major professional events, depending on the event, there will be a larger committee involved.”
The oldest sports commission in the country is the Indianapolis Sports Corp. Founded in 1979, its website lists close to 30 full-time employees who run departments like business development, finance and events.
Miami’s sports commission is one of the smallest, though the city is obviously a prime destination. The staff is comprised of only two people but the commission’s large board of directors, which includes ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard, helps bring in all types of events.
“We have a very wide array of board members so that helps bridge a lot of the gaps and helps bring everyone together,” said Miami-Dade Sports Commission Associate Executive Director Mathew Ratner.
Despite the size and duties of a specific commission, the NFL requires each host city to form a new stand-alone committee to oversee the production of a Super Bowl. Even with an all-hands-on-deck mentality, the effort required for success is enormous.
“It is a herculean task put together an effective bid,” Sadler said. “It’s beyond herculean to execute these events when they come out.”
Two themes run through the discussion when the word “fundraising” comes up among metro-area leaders of the sports community: Arizona could benefit from a state fund for mega-events similar to the one used in Texas. Fundraising on an event-by-event basis is not a sustainable model for the future if Phoenix wants to remain competitive with other markets.
“Our fundraising focus was on largely (the) business community and I think we probably raised on the order of 70 percent of our dollars of the $30 million that it took to host the game from our business community,” Rousseau said.
With three mega-events landing in the Valley in consecutive years, the concern is each host committee must try to raise money from the same small pool of potential donors.
“We just can’t year in and year out count on the support from the private sector,” Sadler said. “I think it’s possible to do it for a few years in the short run, but year after year would be very difficult, and that’s why we need the state’s help.”
Texas has adjusted and amended its model over the years, but the concept has remained the same. If an event hosted in the state can prove a certain level of revenue was generated during its run, the state will reimburse the host committee for a percentage of its operating budget on par with the money earned.
The host committee can then pass some of those savings on to the rights holder of the event to hopefully ensure the event returns in the future and also roll some of the money over to pursue subsequent events.
Said Kelly: “The Texas Major Event Trust Fund program has been a tremendous success story for the city of Dallas and its ability to attract and retain major sporting events and certain citywide conventions to the state of Texas, and to Dallas.”
Texas has $50 million authorized for the fund for the 2015 fiscal year.
While many sports leaders in Phoenix agree a state fund would be beneficial, if not necessary, they also agree the $50 million figure is probably too high for Arizona.
“I frankly think that’s too rich of a model,” Rousseau said.
The exact dollar amount feasible in Arizona is debatable, but attempts to create such a fund have already begun.
In 2014, former state Rep. Tom Forese, R-Gilbert, introduced a bill that would have created a $10 million fund, though he and others were quick to say the fund must be carefully regulated.
“It’s a very competitive environment when you’re chasing opportunities like this, so you want to give the state every competitive advantage and yet you don’t want to be throwing money blindly at anything,” said Forese, now a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission. “So the model that we had was a revolving fund, and it was a fund that could be used in order to provide that competitive edge and then be reimbursed by the proceeds of the event.”
The bill did not make it through the Legislature, but Sadler, who helped promote the bill, hopes to keep the issue alive.
“Given the state’s current economic status, it wasn’t a great time to enter into that conversation, but we’re going to keep it on the front burner and see if we can get something enacted,” he said.
The challenges of raising money in the Valley can be daunting, and proponents of the fund say it would help ease the burden on both the host committees and local businesses.
The Phoenix metro area is home to only four Fortune 500 companies, according to the 2014 list compiled by Fortune magazine. By comparison, Dallas and Minneapolis both have 18 and Atlanta has 16.
Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix, has the unique experience of having worked with the Texas fund during his 14 years at the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and 14 years at the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has overseen Visit Phoenix for 13 years and sees the need for some kind of state fund for events.
“Those states that enjoy mega-event funding have clearly placed us at a disadvantage. It’s no longer just that our good weather is going to bring mega events here. It has to be an organized, consistent, well-funded effort that is a great business model, that is inclusive and aware, and abides by the sunshine (law) of open government.”
Questions without answers
The reason for a central sports commission, which would recruit and coordinate major sporting events in the Valley, seem plentiful. However, the idea is rife with questions.
Alan Young, COO of the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission, which primarily organizes youth and amateur events, sees several outstanding issues that would need to be addressed.
“I think the main question to ask is, what do the citizens believe?” he said. “What is the overall concept of this? Is building stadiums a drain on the economic impact of the community or is it a positive, is it a plus? Investing in these events – is it a drain on the citizens, the taxation, or is it a good investment? Is it a good business decision or not?”
Despite numerous questions, Young is in favor of a unified sports commission and a state fund.
“I certainly believe and our commission believes it’s a great business decision to invest in these types of events but getting the Legislature, getting the citizens, to buy into this has always been a difficult task,” he said.
Steve Moore speculated about the uses of a potential state fund for event production.
“Is this (state fund) something you’d use for a national political convention?” he asked. “That’s a partisan event. Would you use that for it? Is there an answer to that? That’s not a sports commission issue, but it’s a mega-event issue.”
Tom Sadler raised the issue of the year-round responsibilities of the prospective commission.
“What does this commission do between bids and between executing these bids?”
Opinions and theories are abundant in the sports community, and the discussion is ongoing. The goal, though, is the same for all.
“When we have these national sporting events … they’re massive economic drivers and so it’s much more than just sports,” said Commissioner Forese. “This is a way to put Arizona’s best foot forward, and also it’s a way to have people come and take a look at Arizona and consider moving here or moving their business here.”
It is recognition five years in the making. After years of research, development and real-world application, Salt River Project senior engineer Kyle Cormier and Joe Nowaczyk, former director of Electronic Systems, are being honored for their work, which focuses on enabling technologies to make grid modernization more reliable for SRP customers and the overall power industry into the future.
They received the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Technology Transfer Award. It is given annually to EPRI members who have led technology transfer efforts on behalf of their companies and the energy industry at large. The awards were presented during meetings of EPRI’s Power Delivery and Utilization (PDU) advisors in Phoenix on Tuesday.
SRP is a collaborating member of EPRI’s Smart Grid Demonstration Initiative, along with seven other utilities. As part of its preparation for the smart grid or “grid of the future,” SRP conducted a Field Area Network (FAN) Pilot. The effort positions SRP to meet the future wireless communications needs for the proliferation of intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) beyond substations. Under Nowaczyk’s conceptualization and direction, Cormier engineered and improved utility communications through a private wireless network.
“It is a revolution for a utility to have this communication infrastructure,” said Nowaczyk, who is currently SRP’s director of Electric System Maintenance.“Utility communication technologies are coming of age with the rest of the evolution of consumer communications, like we see with our cell phones. SRP is now able to communicate and automate more of the grid to increase reliability and reduce outage duration when outages occur. That is the foundation of the communication network we created — to provide the high-speed data transfer, wirelessly and securely.”
SRP’s existing wireless communication systems can be characterized as first generation (1G). The systems are unique-point solutions, each typically servicing only one application. They include 900 MHz licensed and unlicensed point-to-multipoint, paging, 900 MHz unlicensed mesh, and public carrier systems.
SRP envisions the majority of these systems will be unified using a wireless broadband network. This field area network is intended to provide network connectivity and services for a variety of applications, including distribution feeder automation, volt-var optimization, water SCADA, line and transformer monitoring and distributed energy resource integration.
The four main elements of the FAN pilot were:
· An analysis of technical options for the FAN infrastructure
· A FAN pilot deployment
· Cyber security penetration testing
· A cost-benefit analysis of the applications that could benefit or be enabled by the FAN
“We built a three-site WiMAX system in the Phoenix area and found existing application technologies already in operation throughout the company to test,” said Nowaczyk. We hooked them up to this network and ran performance testing of the data speeds, while checking the cyber-security protocols to ensure the network could handle all the data transfer and be secure. Now that we’re done, we can plan out how to scale up to build a bigger network. The key is getting spectrum, and securing spectrum is managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).”
According to Mark McGranaghan, vice president of PDU at EPRI, the 2014 Technology Transfer Award winners made significant achievements in applying EPRI research results, or “acting as champions” for EPRI research programs. “The commitment and collaboration demonstrated by these individuals and teams enables the power industry to continuously improve its safety, reliability, affordability and be more environmentally responsible for the benefit of their stakeholders and society.”
Utility companies have an infrastructure need for wireless communication, and by optimizing new technologies can modernize the grid aimed at automated or enhanced switching during outages to increase reliability and help customers. Because of its rare and robust fiber optic network, SRP is in a uniquely advantageous position within the utility industry to benefit immediately from a private wireless network and backhaul the data. The EPRI award recognizes SRP for being an industry leader.
“Last-mile communications is our communications as a utility from the substation out,” added Nowaczyk. “We have substations roughly every four square miles, and we have fiber optic communications at every substation. Our wireless network allows us to go beyond the substation to communicate to devices on the grid, so it’s that ‘last mile.’”
Cormier added, “SRP’s continued collaboration with industry organizations such as EPRI, the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC), vendors and other utilities is critical in creating economies of scale when providing last-mile communications. It’s through this scale that standards, lower prices and efficiency can occur.”
EPRI presented its 2014 Technology Transfer Awards for PDU research and development to 46 individuals, representing 29 electric power companies.
“The Technology Transfer Award is meaningful to me because it confirms the work I’m doing is beneficial to SRP and the industry,” said Cormier. “EPRI’s Smart Grid Demonstration Initiative provided SRP valuable knowledge, experience and awareness in the continued advancement of the electric grid. SRP’s FAN pilot demonstrated the importance of wireless communications in providing connectivity to devices in the distribution system that stretch beyond the reach of the fiber optic systems.”
The SRP FAN team has proposed that a private wireless broadband network be built to enable and advance grid automation, customer application benefits and cost optimization. As previously noted by Nowaczyk, it will require licensed spectrum acquisition from the FCC, which is being pursued. It is a real possibility that one day SRP will own and operate a fourth generation (4G) network, much like mobile carriers.
“My vision is that someday SRP will have its own network, and instead of a public carrier SIM card in every remote device, all remote grid intelligent devices would hook up to this network and have an ‘SRP SIM card’ for every device on the distribution system, but that’s at least another five plus years away,” added Nowaczyk.
Papago Park Center, Inc. announced today that Lincoln Property Company (LPC) has been selected to develop the first phase of Class A and mixed-use office space for The Grand at Papago Park Center. The total project is a 60-acre, high-profile, urban mixed-use property on the last developable parcel within the 350-acre Papago Park Center.
The Grand project will serve as the final phase of one of the largest business parks in Arizona. Papago Park Center, Inc., The Grand project’s master developer, selected LPC after an extensive RFP process that included local, regional and national development candidates.
The Grand at Papago Park Center is located along the Loop 202/Red Mountain Freeway between Priest Road and Center Parkway, and is named after the adjacent Grand Canal. The Grand Canal is a waterway developed in the 1870s to bring water from the Salt and Verde rivers to Metropolitan Phoenix. It was recently relocated to run through The Grand project, creating a water feature for the development. The completion of the canal relocation project will be celebrated with an upcoming event in March.
The Grand is part of Papago Park Center, home to the corporate offices of Salt River Project (SRP) as well as First Solar, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, DHL, Union Bank, Sonora Quest Labs, State Farm Insurance, Western Refining and Parsons Brinckerhoff. At build-out, The Grand will total more than 3.2 million square feet of mixed-use office, multifamily, hotel, retail and restaurant space, including up to six 10-story, Class A office buildings surrounding a central water feature. When combined with Papago Park Center’s existing 3.3 million square feet of mixed-use projects, there will be more than 6.5 million square feet of urban development and approximately 20,000 employees and residents. More about The Grand at Papago Park Center is available at the project’s website: www.thegrandatpapagoparkcenter.com.
Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said development of The Grand at Papago Park Center further adds to the positive momentum of Tempe’s economy. “This is a boon to Tempe. The Grand will have impressive spaces rivaled by few in the region,” he said. “I am excited the site will feature pedestrian and bike paths connected to Tempe Town Lake that will be enjoyed by employees and the public.”
LPC is rolling out plans this month for its first office buildings. At build-out, The Grand will have a total of 1.8 million square feet of Class A space in six buildings. Construction on three parking garages will coincide with the buildings’ development.
“Being selected for this project evokes a sense of history, partnership and environmental stewardship,” said Lincoln Property Company’s Executive Vice President David Krumwiede. “We are extremely excited to work with Papago Park Center and to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the historic Grand Canal as the focal point of the development. We also recognize the all-time high demand for Tempe’s live-work-play environment, and believe now is an ideal time to build something very unique and lasting.”
The Grand is being developed through Planned Area Development (PAD) zoning and offers superior visibility, with approximately one-half mile of freeway frontage and two freeway off-ramps on Loop 202, just across from Tempe Town Lake. With two light rail stops serving the property, the site serves as the first stop on the light rail or by car coming out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and has almost immediate access to Arizona State University and the Loop 202 Freeway. It is also minutes from Interstate 10, the Loop 101 and the 51 Freeway, offering easy access to all major Valley thoroughfares as well as executive and employee housing in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler and Phoenix.
The project will include pedestrian-friendly multi-use paths along the Grand Canal and throughout the campus. Other nearby amenities include Papago Park, Papago Golf Course, Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden, Tempe Town Lake, Arizona State University, Phoenix Municipal Stadium and the restaurants, shopping and entertainment within downtown Tempe’s Mill Avenue District.
“The Grand signifies the innovation and importance of the Grand Canal and the natural history of Papago Park,” said Nina Mullins, Senior Director of Papago Park Center, Inc. “It exemplifies the need to both further advance the economic vitality of our Valley and to protect the resources that sustain our more than 4 million residents.”
Jerry Roberts, Corey Hawley and Patrick Boyle with CBRE will lead the marketing and leasing efforts for The Grand’s office development. HKS Architects/Kendle Design Collaborative both serve as the office project architects and JEDunn will serve as the general contractor.
Following an extensive three-month public process, Salt River Project’s publicly elected Board of Directors today approved changes in price plans effective with the April 2015 billing cycle that reduce a proposed 3.9 percent increase to 3.3 percent for the first full year it is in effect. The full 3.9 percent increase will take effect beginning April 2016.
Beginning with the April 2015 billing cycle, the monthly bill for a typical residential customer will increase by about $3.85 until April 2016, when that figure will then average $4.60. Even with the approved increase, SRP’s electric prices remain among the lowest in the Southwest.
The Board also approved a new price plan for residential customers who, after Dec. 8, 2014, add solar or other technologies to generate some of their energy requirements. The new price plan is intended and was designed that these rooftop solar customers – who choose to purchase less energy from SRP but still use and rely on the electric grid around the clock – pay their share of costs to maintain and improve the grid.
Management had proposed that existing solar customers be “grandfathered” from moving to the new price plan for a period of 10 years, but the Board today extended that by up to 20 years for SRP customers who installed rooftop solar units to run from the time the system was installed. The Board also voted to allow unlimited transfer of the grandfathering with the sale of the home for all rooftop solar customers. during that 20 year period.
“SRP will continue to support solar energy by seeking low-cost alternatives that provide maximum financial and reliability benefits for all of our nearly 1 million customers,” said Mark Bonsall, SRP’s general manager and chief executive officer. “Grandfathering continues this support for our existing solar customers, but the new price plan ensures that the cost shift to our 985,000 non-solar customers will not grow.”
The new self-generation price plan includes increased charges to better recover fixed costs related to the solar customer’s service facilities and their use of the grid, but also reduces the price the customer pays per kilowatt hour for energy.
According to Chief Financial Executive Aidan McSheffrey, a demand charge included in the plan is intended to provide the customers with the ability to manage their energy use so as to maximize their opportunity to save money.
“Rather than solve this cost shift with an additional fixed charge – which does not provide flexibility to save money – our new plan sends a price signal that incents more efficient installations by the solar industry and behavior by the customer that maximizes the value of their solar systems,” said McSheffrey.
SRP was able to minimize the approved price increase with more than $45 million in cost cuts by trimming operations, maintenance and capital expenditures.
As a community-based, non-profit public power utility, SRP’s revenues are reinvested back into the electric grid for the benefit of all customers. The last price increase was more than two years ago and since that time, SRP has invested more than $1 billion in its electrical system. However, revenues are not keeping pace with several higher-than-anticipated costs, McSheffrey said. The price increase will help:
• Maintain reliable electric service. SRP continues to modernize its electric grid (the system of power lines, generating stations and high-tech equipment) to safely and reliably deliver energy. This work includes replacing infrastructure, such as older power poles and underground power lines, and adding new technology to incorporate more renewable energy sources into the grid.
• Power a growing economy. Arizona’s economy is starting to improve, as evidenced by SRP customers setting two records for energy use this past summer. To meet increased power demand resulting from growth, SRP must invest in and build new infrastructure.
• Environmental initiatives. SRP has invested approximately $73 million during the past two years to add new environmental controls at key Arizona power plants. These upgrades are important, but they add significant expense to existing operations without creating additional power resources.
“Reliability is our most important product,” said McSheffrey. “To retain the level of service our customers have come to expect from SRP, we must continue to invest in modernizing our energy grid to adapt to new technologies – and that will improve reliability and allow for more customer choice.”
Also approved by the Board today is an option for SRP residential customers who own an electric vehicle that will allow them to choose a Time-of-Use price plan that will include a super off-peak period that encourages the charging of electric vehicles overnight when energy is available for a lower cost.
In addition, the Board approved a $3 increase to the monthly credit for low-income customers on the Economy Price Plan (EPP) from $17 to $20 during the winter months. EPP customers would continue to receive a $21 discount on their summer bills.
In light of the price increase, McSheffrey said SRP is committed to continuing its efforts to offer ways to help customers manage their energy use.
“SRP has 20 different residential and business customer energy-saving programs our customers can select from to help reduce energy use and save money on their monthly electric bill,” said McSheffrey. “Our optional Time-of-Use pricing plan is one of the largest in the country.”
SRP’s energy-saving website, www.savewithsrp.com, contains information about rebates and discounts, tips for saving energy and water, how to determine the right price plan, how to install programmable thermostats and reduce cooling costs by shading windows, and how to perform a home energy audit.
SRP is community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers.
Salt River Project has implemented a study to determine whether customers on a specific time-of-use program can save even more energy each month with a smart thermostat.
Customers who are on the EZ3 program save money by reducing their energy use during SRP’s peak hours.
As part of the study, SRP is currently installing smart thermostats in 250 current EZ3 customer homes to determine if they can assist in efficiently maintaining a comfortable temperature in homes throughout the day.
Smart thermostats use new technology that allows customers to communicate with the thermostat via their personal computer, mobile device or tablet. They can direct the thermostat to increase or decrease the temperature of the home in response to the price of electricity. The smart thermostat also has the ability to learn the characteristics of a home, including how quickly the home changes temperatures during the day, and can adjust accordingly.
“The purpose of the study is to determine the savings that customers might realize with these smart thermostats while on a time-of-use program such as EZ3,” said Lori Singleton, Director Emerging Customer Programs. “Additionally the goal is to find ways to help reduce SRP’s electric load during peak hours.”
Currently EZ3 customers save an average of six percent each month, but Singleton said she expects to see additional savings with the installation of smart thermostats. The studies will continue for two full summers to understand how these thermostats will work during the hottest months of the year.
SRP is working with EnergyHub, a leading energy management and demand response software provider, to install the smart thermostats and conduct the studies.
“We’re pleased to be working with Salt River Project on this innovative program,” said Mike Bates, General Manager, Utilities at EnergyHub. “With interest in time-of-use rates growing, the ability of EnergyHub’s platform to optimize thermostat performance and save money for customers is more important than ever.”
The study is part of a larger research project with Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and 10 utilities including Pacific Gas & Electric and Tennessee Valley Authority.
If proven effective, SRP will consider offering rebates for the devices.
SRP is a community-based, nonprofit utility serving more than 990,000 customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
In a report issued by J.D. Power, Salt River Project ranks highest in customer satisfaction for business electric service among large electricity providers in the West Region for the second consecutive year — the fifth time in the last six years SRP has been ranked highest in the study.
SRP’s overall customer satisfaction index is 741 out of a possible 1,000 points in the 2015 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study. While scores nationally improved by 15 points from last year, SRP’s performance improves 28 index points. SRP ranks highest in the West in all six customer satisfaction factors: Power Quality and Reliability, Billing and Payment, Corporate Citizenship, Price, Communications and Customer Service.
The 2015 study results come six months after J.D. Power announced in July that SRP had also ranked highest for residential electric service in the 2014 Large Utilities segment in the West for the 13th consecutive year — and 15th time in the 16 years J.D. Power conducted its study of residential customers.
The 2015 Business Customer Satisfaction rankings from the J.D. Power study are based on interviews with representatives of nearly 23,000 U.S. businesses that spend $200 or more a month on electricity. The western region covers Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
J.D. Power identified several key drivers as to why business customers gave higher marks in the 2015 study, specifically commending utilities for providing more timely and improved information about power outages and the restoration of electric service. In the past several years, SRP has been introducing new tools that can help Valley businesses stay informed if an outage occurs.
–Detailed power outage information via online and mobile friendly maps
–E-mail and text power outage notifications, and
–E-mail and text weather alerts.
SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing service to more than 1 million customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to agricultural, urban and municipal water users.
The J.D. Power and Associates’ news release about the 2015 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study is available at http://www.jdpower.com.
A unique partnership between Salt River Project and BASELAYER, the advanced data center hardware and software company born within IO, will provide an innovative approach to supporting the addition of critical data centers in the Valley.
Data centers support modern computer technology information systems such as the Internet. They are also large consumers of power, and require an extremely reliable power source. Through advanced technology solutions, data centers are now being built to support the industrial Internet and fuel the success in the new Internet of things.
SRP intends to deploy BASELAYER’s modular data center technology in locations near its existing electrical infrastructure where they can be connected directly to the energy grid. SRP sees the new concept, to be named SRP DataStations, as a solution that would allow for data center growth with minimal impact to the community in relation to new power line construction.
“SRP has a long and rich history of forecasting future community needs while planning for them today,” said Mark Bonsall, SRP’s general manager and chief executive officer. “Investments and partnerships made by SRP over the past century in infrastructure such as dams, reservoirs and canals, as well as the electrical grid, have resulted in low-cost and reliable supplies of water and energy.
“Like the need for water and power, the future need for information could have a similar economic impact on the Valley and, as such, is worth evaluating and planning for.”
Similar to power stations on the power grid, Bonsall said SRP DataStations will play a critical role as a hub on the computing grid of the future. By leveraging these assets, SRP could build its DataStations where highly reliable power and telecommunications intersect – such as near power stations. These SRP DataStations would then be populated with modular data centers, which will provide a quick and modular growth model for data center expansion.
“That will also reduce the cost for the operators and reduce the impact to the community since few additional power lines, if any, will need to be built as power stations have enough electricity to support existing growth at that location,” said Michael Lowe, assistant general manager and SRP’s chief customer executive.
SRP is working with BASELAYER to deploy the first DataStation in 2015. The SRP DataStation will reside in close proximity to an existing power station with redundant, high-voltage power feeds and fiber optic cables. The SRP DataStation will contain BASELAYER’s latest modular data center, specifically designed for this grid-integrated application.
By connecting these redundant power feeds directly to the modular data center, the data center will receive such a high level of power reliability that backup power infrastructure may not be required. If the prototype performs as planned, Lowe said SRP DataStations could be available for commercial placement of modular data centers in the near future.
Arizona is home to the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America, with a single stand stretching from near Flagstaff all the way to the White Mountains of the east.
And in the last 10 years, 25 percent of it burned, said Patrick Graham, Arizona state director for the Nature Conservancy.
Fire suppression and subsequent cleanup costs have risen far beyond estimated prevention costs, according to studies by the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service and the Ecological Restoration Institute (ERI) at Northern Arizona University (NAU), among others.
The tourism industry in Arizona, an estimated 20 percent of the state’s economy, is largely dependent on the health of forested lands and other wildlife preserves, a 2007 report by the Governor’s Health Oversight Council stated.
But “wildfires affect the entire state — not just the north,” said Eric Marcus, executive director at the Northern Arizona Sustainable Economic Development Initiative.
A full-cost economic analysis of the 2010 Schultz fire outside of Flagstaff by the ERI revealed the deeper effect of forest fires. More than 15,000 acres of forest were burned, causing an estimated $147 million in economic damage, the report found. An investment of only $15 million could have prevented this catastrophe, said Marcus.
Fire and water
But most of the damage from these wildfires occurs after the fire has been extinguished.
When major wildfires remove the trees and grasses necessary for holding soil in place, a once standard rainstorm can now cause dangerous floods and massive erosion, filling up the reservoirs and ultimately decreasing the carrying capacity of our water supply, said Bruce Hallin, director of water rights and contracts with the Salt River Project.
“These catastrophic wildfires go in and the fire burns so hot that it burns everything,” said Hallin. “It turns it into this wasteland.”
But nothing can hold back sediment from flowing directly into the water supply if a fire were to ignite downstream from the reservoirs, such as the Sunflower fire in 2012. If ash-laden water were to be delivered to processing plants, treatment costs would increase dramatically, thus increasing the price of the water, said Marcus.
The 2002 Hayman fire in Colorado deposited more than 1 million cubic yards of sediment into Denver’s primary drinking water supply. To this day, cleanup is still underway to restore Strontia Springs Reservoir, with costs exceeding $150 million.
“Ultimately, through forest thinning, we don’t want to get to that point,” said Hallin.
One century ago, Arizona’s northern forests were more akin to open grasslands interspersed with towering ponderosas. Ignited by lightning, the grass beneath the trees would carry a smoldering fire along the ground, burning the young trees while only charring the thick bark of the older, more established ponderosas.
Need for thinning
But Arizona’s northern forests have “all departed from the way they were historically,” said Diane Vosick, director of policy and partnerships at ERI.
When grazing came through in the late 1800s and removed all of the grass, fires could no longer move through the forest naturally. Bare soil — which resulted from result over-grazing — allowed the pines to germinate seeds more easily. However, when fires did ignite, the U.S. Forest Service fire policy at the time required any and all fires to be extinguished. This fire policy went unchanged until 1995, allowing millions of young ponderosas and other vegetation to crowd the once-thin forest.
A study conducted by ERI Director Wally Covington found that historically, Arizona’s ponderosa forests contained roughly 25 trees per acre. But now, one acre of forest can contain more than a thousand trees.
“You’ve basically got a big wood pile out there waiting to burn,” said Vosick.
SRP, the water supplier for more than half of Phoenix and nearly all of Tempe, manages eight reservoirs deep within Arizona’s northern region.
“That’s the goal,” said Vosick. “You want fire to do its natural role and to help manage the forests.”
The Four Forest Restoration Initiative, or 4FRI, is a collaborative effort comprised of residents, industry, and the government to restore the Coconino, Kaibab, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto national forests through thinning and prescribed burning.
Vosick said that 4FRI hopes to have thinned at least 1 million acres of forested land within 20 years.
However, almost no thinning has taken place in nearly five years since the initiative began.
Seeking a solution
“Forest lands have been managed for the last 20 years through litigation and attorneys, not projects,” said Hallin. Because of these legal barriers, Northern Arizona’s timber industry has all but vanished. So even the lands that have been approved for thinning cannot receive the treatment prescribed because there is no longer any industry to do the work, he said.
“You can make money with big old trees, but we don’t want those trees taken out of the forest,” said Marcus. Private enterprise doesn’t want to invest because no money can be made from the small diameter trees, he said.
The only way to thin the forests in a timely manner is through convincing industry that their investment will not be inhibited by litigation because the federal government can’t do it by itself, Hallin said. “The fact of the matter is, without a successful forest products industry, that entire forest is going to burn.”
SRP, in conjunction with the National Forest Foundation, has created the Northern Arizona Forest Fund, enabling individuals and businesses to invest in restoring the lands that provide them water.
“We don’t need to do more research to know what our problem is; we need to generate public interest in fixing things,” said Marcus.
“You can pay me now, or you can pay me later. But if you pay me now, you pay me a fraction of what you’re going to pay me later and have nowhere near the devastating effects that you’re going to have down the road.”
Salt River Project exceeded its annual goal of helping residential and commercial customers save energy and money through the utility’s Energy Efficiency programs and initiatives.
Last year, SRP’s Energy Efficiency programs for both residential and commercial customers provided annual energy savings equal to 2.3 percent of SRP’s retail energy sales that resulted in a savings of 640 million kilowatt hours, which is equivalent to powering about 35,000 homes for one year.
The largest savings came from the Retail Lighting Program, which offered customers discounted prices on LED and CFL light bulbs from retailers such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. SRP works with retailers and manufacturers to offer reduced prices, which drove annual customer purchases to nearly 2.7 million bulbs.
“The SRP energy-efficiency programs have experienced tremendous customer participation,” said Dan Dreiling, SRP director of Market Research and Customer Programs. “Not only do our customers expect us to provide ways to save, but they are also pleased with the programs we offer and continue to support them.”
Strong participation in the Energy-Efficient Pool Pump Program, Appliance Recycling and ENERGY STAR Homes also helped exceed program goals, he said.
Residential customers also increased their comfort and savings by taking advantage of comprehensive home assessments and rebates for services and products such as home duct repair and window shade screens as well as energy-efficient air conditioners and heat pumps.
Residential customers Steve and Lori Bold of Phoenix took advantage of SRP’s energy efficiency rebate programs when they sealed their attic and duct systems, replaced their two aging heat pumps with high-efficiency units, added new insulation and installed shade screens on the windows.
“As a result of the improvements, we reduced monthly energy use by more than 22 percent,” Steven Bold said. “The online advice and rebates offered by SRP helped to move the projects along and kept our costs down significantly.”
SRP takes an overarching approach to managing its resources in a way that balances reliability, affordability and environmental stewardship. This balance helps ensure the long-term performance of the grid while managing customers’ costs.
“In a dynamic era of changing resource and emissions requirements, these programs will play a pivotal role in cost-effectively meeting customers’ needs while also helping to optimize resources and protect the environment,” Dreiling said.
The vast majority of commercial energy savings was derived from enhanced lighting rebates through Standard Business Solutions, large commercial and industry energy-efficiency projects through Custom Business Solutions and lighting retrofit projects under the Small Business Solutions program.
Fry’s Food Stores participated in the SRP Business Solutions rebate programs to implement 50 projects in 30 metropolitan Phoenix stores. So far, Fry’s has realized about 1.2 million kilowatt-hours per year in energy savings.
“SRP rebate programs help Fry’s continue to reduce our carbon footprint, which is good for the environment as well as our bottom line,” said Ben Tan, energy manager of Fry’s Food Stores Facilities Engineering.
The SRP Board has set a goal to meet 20 percent of SRP’s retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020. Currently, SRP is ahead of schedule – providing about 12.8 percent of retail energy needs with sustainable resources, including wind, geothermal, solar, landfill gas, biomass and hydropower as well as energy-efficiency programs.
SRP is the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving about 990,000 customers.
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.
For the first time since 2012, Salt River Project on Wednesday delivered a record amount of energy to its Phoenix-area retail customers. Between 4 and 5 p.m., SRP delivered an estimated retail peak demand of 6,707 megawatts.
That peak topped the previous SRP high this summer of 6,382 megawatts on July 22 and the all-time record of 6,663 megawatts on Aug. 8, 2012.
Strong customer demand is the result of several factors, including an increase in the number of SRP electric customers, extreme daytime temperatures, higher overnight temperatures and relatively high humidity. The high temperature recorded in Phoenix on Wednesday was 114 degrees, while the overnight low was 95 degrees.
Because the forecast calls for continuing high temperatures and increasing humidity, SRP power experts predict that records for high energy demand could continue this week.
SRP’s robust electrical grid was able to handle the record demand due in part to investments in new technology as well as a comprehensive maintenance plan to ensure optimal performance. The recently completed units at the Coolidge Generating Station as well as SRP’s wind and solar renewable-energy facilities helped meet the record customer demand, and SRP’s local generating units are all available to help ensure that SRP has enough energy to meet the needs of its customers this summer.
SRP is the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving about 990,000 customers.
Salt River Project’s electric customers continue to give SRP higher marks for customer satisfaction, according to a report issued today by J.D. Power. With an increase of 21 performance points from a year ago, SRP ranks highest for residential electric service in the western United States among Large electric utilities for the 13th consecutive year.
With a Customer Satisfaction Index score of 730 on a 1,000-point scale in this year’s ranking, it is the 15th time in 16 years (1999, 2000, 2002-2014) that SRP scored the highest in the West among large electric utilities (500,000 or more residential customers). The average score in the West Large Utility region, which covers utilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, is 657.
SRP’s score was bolstered by ranking highest in the study’s Large Utilities segment in the West region for all six components, Power Quality and Reliability, Billing and Payment, Corporate Citizenship, Price, Communications and Customer Service.
The 2014 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 104,000 online interviews conducted from July 2013 through May 2014 among residential customers of the 138 largest electric utility brands across the nation, which collectively represent more than 96 million households. More information on the Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction study can be found at http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-electric-utility-residential-customer-satisfaction-study.
Today’s announcement was the second in the last week by J.D. Power in which SRP was recognized. On July 9, SRP was recognized for contact center operation customer satisfaction excellence under the J.D. Power Certified Contact Center Program. The Certified Contact Center Program distinction acknowledged a strong commitment by SRP’s service contact center operations to provide “An Outstanding Customer Service Experience.” SRP achieved certification for the live phone channel (ninth consecutive year), including interactive voice response (IVR) routing and customer service representative (CSR), as well as for the IVR self-service and Web self-service channels (first year, respectively). For J.D. Power 2014 Contact Center Certification Information, visit jdpower.com.
SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing electric service to more than 990,000 customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 1 million acre-feet to agricultural, urban and municipal water users.
In case anyone missed it, the five-month 2014 winter runoff season finished quite a bit like the previous three January-through-May periods: DRY.
In fact, this year’s five-month snowmelt season produced only 148,000 acre-feet _ the eighth-driest since Salt River Project has been keeping records for the last 116 years and the fourth consecutive year with below-median winter inflows into the SRP reservoirs.
The good news, however, is that the long-term forecast suggests the possibility of an El Niño event by the fall and winter of water year 2015. El Niño is characterized by warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures in the equatorial eastern Pacific. During El Niño events, the Pacific jet stream tracks farther south, with storms from the Pacific Ocean taking aim at the southwestern U.S. while, at the same time, the subtropical jet stream is displaced to the north, often leading to above-normal precipitation over Arizona.
Charlie Ester, SRP’s manager of Water Resource Operations, said that bodes well for a more active monsoon season followed by wetter conditions on the Salt and Verde watersheds next winter.
Ester said an “average” January-to-May runoff season would go a long way toward refilling the reservoirs on the Salt and Verde rivers that today stand at a healthy 53 perfect full with 1.22 million acre-feet stored – nearly the same percentage as one year ago. That followed the most productive runoff season — 444,788 acre-feet of stream flow accumulated in the first five months of 2013 – since 1,418,960 acre-feet of water was accumulated during the 2010 runoff season. The 30-year median runoff is 534,336 acre-feet.
“In spite of the consecutive dry winters, our reservoir system is in a good position to provide full allocation to our water customers because of SRP water resource management practices,” said Ester. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed for an active 2015 runoff season, and so far the early indications are good.”
SRP and central Arizona depend on wet winters and plentiful precipitation on the mountainous regions north and east of the Valley to replenish the reservoirs on the Salt and Verde rivers. Unfortunately, the watersheds contained in those mountainous regions received just 2.85 inches of precipitation from December 2013 through March 2014 — 37% of normal.
Overall, the SRP reservoir system has declined from completely full on May 1, 2010, to 56% full on May 1, 2014. Theodore Roosevelt Lake, which holds about two-thirds of the combined water stored on the Salt and Verde rivers, today stands at 42 percent full. Current storage on the Salt River system is 51 percent; the two reservoirs on the Verde River are a combined 66 percent of capacity.
SRP is the largest raw water supplier in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, normally delivering about 1 million acre-feet annually.
The member electric utility companies of the Southwest Variable Energy Resources Initiative (SVERI) have launched a dedicated website that provides near real-time data for renewable energy resources from across the desert Southwest.
SVERI is partnering with the University of Arizona to collect, display and analyze generator output and electric customer load data from the participating companies. The website is available to the public and can be accessed at http://sveri.uaren.org.
The SVERI participants include Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Arizona Public Service Co., El Paso Electric Co., Imperial Irrigation District, Public Service Company of New Mexico, Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power Co. and the Western Area Power Administration’s Desert Southwest Region.
“Challenges being faced in the Pacific Northwest and California in integrating renewable generation drove the creation of this investigatory effort,” said Robert Kondziolka, director of Transmission and Generation Operations at SRP and the current chair of the management committee for SVERI.
“Our objective is to collectively determine if and when the integration of renewable resources into our respective systems may create operational challenges, and to identify the most appropriate tools to address this challenge. Our overall goal is always to ensure continued system reliability and to provide benefits to our customers.”
SVERI was formed in the fall of 2012 to evaluate the likely penetration, locations and operating characteristics of variable energy resources within the Southwest over the next 20 years. The SVERI participants are exploring tools that may facilitate variable energy resource integration and provide benefits to customers.
Salt River Project has agreed to purchase an additional amount of renewable geothermal energy from a number of plants located in the Imperial Valley of southern California. SRP has amended its agreement with CalEnergy, LLC to add an additional 37 megawatts to a previous contracted agreement of 50 megawatts for a combined capacity of 87 megawatts. One megawatt is about enough energy to power approximately 250 homes in the Phoenix area.
The geothermal facilities are located in Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area – one of the world’s most prolific regions for the production of renewable energy. SRP’s purchase will begin with 18 megawatts in 2016 and grow to the full 87 megawatts in 2020. The agreement will allow SRP to continue providing its customers with sustainable energy from these facilities until 2039.
A geothermal plant produces electricity from naturally occurring geothermal fluid. Steam is formed when production wells tap into superheated water reservoirs thousands of feet beneath the Earth’s surface. Unlike other forms of renewable energy such as solar or wind, geothermal power plants are highly reliable as they produce energy continuously, irrespective of the time of the day or weather conditions.
Geothermal is one of the cleanest sources of baseload generation because, instead of burning fossil fuel to heat water into steam as seen in most conventional forms of generation, heat from the Earth is used to create steam that powers a turbine generator. Geothermal energy is considered renewable energy because no fuel is consumed and the energy is from naturally occurring sources.
SRP estimates that the geothermal power generated by the project will offset approximately 800 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year – the equivalent of taking about 70,000 cars off the road.
Under SRP’s Sustainable Portfolio goals, SRP must meet 20 percent of its retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020.
SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix area, serving nearly 990,000 electric customers.
Small businesses play a key role in our economy, creating jobs and helping our community. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is offering a program to help small business owners and executives learn how to improve efficiency, streamline operations and raise profits. The seventh annual Small Business Leadership Academy is available to the leaders of small and diverse local businesses.
“Small businesses play a crucial role in our economy, and the W. P. Carey School of Business is very interested in helping local business owners to succeed through added education in subjects like strategy, branding and teamwork,” said Dean Amy Hillman of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We designed the Small Business Leadership Academy to fit into the busy schedules of executives from growing businesses.”
Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding co-sponsor, is offering a number of scholarships to its current suppliers and small business customers.
“The partnership we have with ASU, coupled with the sponsorship and scholarships we offer to the academy, is a natural fit for SRP in supporting economic development within our own community,” said Carrie Young, senior director of SRP Corporate Operations Services.
The eight-week academy and its graduation will run on Wednesday nights from Sept. 3 to Oct. 29. The curriculum will cover business strategy, branding, competing through services, negotiations, management and teamwork, among other areas. Program applications are due July 18.
> Have been in business for at least three years,
> Have annual revenues between $1 million and $10 million,
> Have fewer than 100 employees,
> Be the owner or principal of the business.
Applicants must be able to attend all scheduled classes and related activities. Those who complete the program will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Arizona State University. These units are widely used as a measure of participation in non-credit, professional development courses.
A $470 million dollar effort to further reduce emissions from the Salt River Project’s largest single generator of electricity is now complete. On May 1, the last component of the project – selective catalytic reduction technology (SCR) – to lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from the Coronado Generating Station in St. Johns became operational.
The project was a result of a 2008 agreement between SRP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve regional air quality by installing equipment and systems to remove additional emissions of NOx and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from CGS.
The new controls not only further reduce SO2 and NOx emissions from the plant, but also address mercury emissions.
“CGS is a critical component of SRP’s fleet of generating facilities that provide affordable and reliable electricity to our customers 24 hours a day,” said CGS manager Dan Bevier. “Now we will be able to achieve this goal and significantly reduce emissions.”
CGS, owned and operated by SRP, uses coal as a fuel to generate electricity from two 400-megawatt units for SRP customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Completed in 1980, the plant was equipped with then state-of-the-art emission controls including partial flow scrubbers for SO2 reductions and electrostatic precipitators for particulate matter reduction.
The environmental improvement project included the installation of low NOx burners on each of the two units – one in 2009 and the other in 2011. Additionally, SRP constructed new 100 percent flow SO2 removal systems on each of the units – one in 2011 and one in 2012. The project was completed when the SCR on unit 2 was installed and became operational on May 1.
According to SRP senior project manager Gary Barras, the environmental improvement effort at CGS was one of the largest construction projects in Arizona and involved nearly 3,000 workers and contractors at a time when the state was in the midst of the great recession. Barras said the project team completed each phase of work on-schedule and with an outstanding safety record.
The project also included the construction of two new 400-foot concrete exhaust stacks, two 22,000-square-foot multi-level absorber buildings and required more than 4,000 individual pieces of equipment. In addition, more than 29,000 cubic-yards of concrete, nearly 8,000 tons of ductwork and structural steel and more than a million feet of new conductor were needed. The project team also coordinated a global supply chain of consultants and specialized equipment manufacturers located on four major continents.
In addition to installing enhanced emission controls at CGS and as part of the agreement with EPA, SRP funded $4 million in several supplemental environmental projects including installing 100 to 200-kilowatt solar photovoltaic systems at public schools, upgrading emission controls on school buses and replacing wood-burning stoves with clean-burning wood pellet stoves. All of the supplemental environmental projects are contributing to cleaner air in the communities near CGS and in metropolitan Phoenix.
SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 985,000 customers.
Cited as one of the Best to Invest Top U.S. Groups of 2013, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) has once again made Site Selection magazine’s annual ranking for top U.S. Economic Development Groups.
“This recognition is a reflection of our elected and business leaders working together to promote Greater Phoenix and Arizona as business friendly,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The Arizona Competitiveness Package of 2011 and subsequent economic development policies have dramatically shifted our market’s competitive position towards advanced manufacturing and other high-tech industries.”
The ranking took into account four objective categories: new jobs, new jobs per 10,000 residents, new investment amount and new investment per 10,000 residents. “This year’s Best to Invest Top Groups in the U.S. all demonstrated an ability to reach new markets while reaping significant reinvestments from their existing industries,” said Ron Starner, general manager and executive vice president of Conway Data Inc. and Site Selection magazine.
The magazine also features a ranking for top North American deals of 2013, highlighting the Apple, Inc. locate to Mesa, Ariz. The collaboration included a partnership between GPEC, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the city of Mesa, DMB Associates, Maricopa County, and Salt River Project.
Several factors contributed to determining the Top Deals of 2013, including: level of capital investment, degree of high-wage jobs, creativity in negotiations and incentives, regional economic impact, competition for the project and speed to market. “Trends among this elite group of projects include a penchant for free trade zones and an awareness that sometimes facility reuse is as good as brand new,” said Adam Bruns, managing editor of Site Selection.
Broome credits the successful consummation of the project to “years of work on infrastructure, permitting, and crafting performance-based incentives.” He also cited the ability to offer a “turnkey real estate option” as a key factor in sealing the deal.
Key players in Arizona’s water supply gathered today at the GPEC Ambassador Event to discuss the future of water in greater Phoenix at Renaissance Square in Downtown Phoenix.
The event featured a panel consisted of David Modeer, general manager at Central Arizona Project, Grady Gammage Jr., an Attorney at Gammage & Burnham, Dave Roberts, the Senior Diretor of Water Resources at Salt River Project, and Michael Lacey, the director at Arizona Department of Water Resources.
The panel attempted to address various concerns facing Arizona’s water supply that have come to fruition as a result of what has been a 14-year drought extending from Texas to California.
“The efforts that the people on this panel and others have been making over the last 5-10 years in response to the drought, and going forward, are without question one of the most important efforts made to sustain the economy and quality of life of this state,” Modeer said.
The importance of the efforts to sustain Arizona’s water supply was highlighted in a study by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
According to the study, “Central Arizona Project’s delivery of Colorado River water from 1986 through 2010 has generated in excess of $1 trillion of Arizona’s gross state product.”
Between 2005 and 2010 alone, it is pointed out in the study, CAP’s contribution to gross state product increased 27.7 percent to 49.5 percent.
“The significance of what’s at stake for Arizona is unparalleled,” Modeer said. “Without water, we don’t have a viable state of Arizona.”
While plans for the future and actions that have already been taken were discussed with optimism, Lacey acknowledged that there are no definitive answers.
“I have people come up to me all the time and say, ‘so do we have enough water?’” he said. “And, that is exactly like if I come up to one of you and say, ‘do you have enough money?’”
The answer to both of those questions, he said, is: “it depends.”
“The real questions are ‘what do we do with the water we have and what are our chances of getting more?” he said.
In addressing these questions, Lacey said that the public needs to overcome several misconceptions.
One of these misconceptions, he said, stems from the fact that Arizona is the junior right holder on the Colorado River.
“Unfortunately, I think the public’s perception is, if there’s a declaration of shortage on the river, then Phoenix is dry,” he said. “That’s not true. While we are the junior right holder, it is highly unlikely that there will be nothing in the canal.”
Also, he said, even if there is a shortage, it will be mostly agriculture that is affected, not municipal use.
“A declaration of water is not going to mean there isn’t water coming out of your tap,” he said.
While it was acknowledged that there is no sure answer in addressing the issues, the discussion served as an opportunity to find consensual agreements between important Arizona figures.
“The issue that we in the system are dealing with is ‘how do you get an agreement among a really diverse group of states and water rights holders within those states to do something now?’” Modeer said.
Voters in Salt River Project elections Tuesday elected new officers and filled 22 seats on the board and council of the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District and new officers and 20 seats on the board and council of the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association – SRP’s collective governing bodies.
Results from Tuesday’s election become official after a canvass by the SRP boards at their next meetings on Monday, April 7. The newly elected officials will take office May 5 and 6. The terms of SRP president, vice president, board and council seats are all four years.
In unofficial results posted this morning, SRP President David Rousseau of Phoenix and Vice President John R. “Randy” Hoopes of Chandler were re-elected to their second four-year terms. Both candidates were unopposed.
In other unofficial results in which Board incumbents faced challengers, John “Jack” M. White Jr. of Phoenix was re-elected over Ray Arvizu of Phoenix for Seats 6 in both the District and Association; incumbent William W. “Bill” Arnett of Mesa held off challenger Connie Wilhelm of Phoenix for District at-large Seat 12; and incumbent Wendy L. Marshall of Phoenix defeated John Hulburd of Phoenix for District at-large Seat 14.
In contested board seats in which there was no incumbent seeking re-election, Mark V. Pace of Gilbert won Seats 10 in both the District and Association; defeating Mark J. Andersen of Gilbert in the unofficial results. Pace will succeed the retiring Dwayne Dobson on the Board.
In non-contested board seats, incumbent Paul Rovey of Peoria won Seats 2 and Deborah S. Hendrickson of Tempe won Seats 8 in both the District and Association.
In non-contested board seats in which there was no incumbent seeking re-election, Leslie C. Williams of Phoenix won Seats 4 in both the District and Association.
In contested Council races, unofficial winners were Jacqueline “Jacque” L. Miller, Nicholas J. Vanderwey and Robert W. Warren for Seats 6; and Dave B. Lamoreaux, William P. Schrader Jr. and William “Billy” P. Schrader III for Seats 10.
Also elected to Council seats were Jerry Geiger, Kimberly Owens and Bill Sheely for Seats 2; Garvey M. Biggers, M. Brandon Brooks and Michael G. Rakow for District 4; Christopher J. Dobson, Mark L. Farmer and Mark C. Pedersen for Seats 8.
Elected to Council seats were Geiger, Owens and Sheely for Seats 2; Biggers, Brooks and Rakow for Seats 4; and Dobson, Farmer and Pedersen for Seats 8.
SRP is locally regulated by officials elected from within the Salt River Reservoir District boundaries. The Association and District boards establish policy, approve annual budgets, and set prices and fees. Councils for both Association and District amend and enact bylaws, and make appointments to vacant board, council and vice president seats. Traditionally, candidates seek identical positions in each organization.
To be eligible to vote, District and Association electors must be the owner of qualified land, or an individual who has been appointed by the trustee(s) to vote qualified land held in a qualifying trust as of Dec. 22, 2013. In addition, District electors must be a qualified, registered Arizona voter and reside within the state of Arizona. Association electors must also be at least 18 years of age.
All Association positions and all but the four District at-large board positions (Seats 11, 12, 13 and 14) are elected on an acreage-based voting system. The four District at-large board members are elected on a one-vote-per-landowner basis.
SRP is the largest provider of water and power to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
For the 22nd consecutive year, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station was the nation’s largest power producer, generating 31.4 million megawatt-hours in 2013. With this milestone, Palo Verde remains the only U.S. generating facility to ever produce more than 30 million megawatt-hours in a year – an operational accomplishment the plant has achieved on nine separate occasions.
Also in 2013, Unit 2 produced more electricity than any other reactor in the United States and was the second most productive in the world, according to industry data. The unit also achieved a 94.78 percent capacity factor, the highest of all plants in the world top 10 rankings. Capacity factor is an important measure of output and efficiency.
Unit 1 ranked third in the U.S. and seventh in the world, despite a scheduled refueling outage in spring 2013. The main purpose of a refueling outage is to replace some of the older fuel with new fuel that will produce more energy.
Unit 3, which underwent a scheduled refueling outage in fall 2013, ranked 16th in the U.S. and 28th in the world. Palo Verde’s three 1,340-megawatt (net) generating units are on an 18-month refueling cycle, with two refuelings scheduled each year – one in the spring and another in the fall.
“Our top priority is to safely and efficiently generate electricity, thereby providing APS customers and the entire southwest with clean, reliable, low-cost power,” said Randy Edington, Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer for Arizona Public Service Co., the operator and largest owner of Palo Verde. “Once again, our employees’ steadfast focus on plant safety and overall performance improvement helped elevate Palo Verde among the nation’s best operating nuclear power facilities.”
Other 2013 accomplishments included:
Record refueling outage. For the first time ever, a planned refueling outage at Palo Verde was completed in less than 30 days. Last year’s Unit 1 refueling outage began on March 30 and was completed on April 28, 2013 – in a total time of 29 days, 18 hours. The previous shortest Palo Verde refueling outage was 31 days in fall 2012.
Outstanding simultaneous operation. Palo Verde’s three units operated simultaneously for 160 days, the second-longest continuous run in plant history. Together, the three units produced low-cost power around the clock from April 28 to Oct. 5, 2013.
Palo Verde is the largest nuclear power plant in the nation, and its three reactors are part of 100 operating units in the U.S. and 436 in the world. Its three units can generate more than 4 million kilowatts of safe, clean, reliable, low-cost electricity every hour – enough to serve about 4 million people across the southwestern U.S. Approximately half of the plant’s output serves Arizona customers with the remaining power spread among California, New Mexico and far west Texas. In addition to the energy produced, Palo Verde has an estimated annual economic impact of more than $1.8 billion in Arizona through taxes, salaries, purchases of materials and services, and more.
Palo Verde is operated by APS and jointly owned by APS, Salt River Project, Southern California Edison Co., El Paso Electric Co., Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Southern California Public Power Authority and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.
APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves nearly 1.2 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).