Tag Archives: SRP


Party will honor Arizona’s Most Influential Women

They are the best business minds in Arizona. They are innovators, trailblazers and leaders of industry.

They are Az Business magazine’s Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2015, as selected by the editorial team at Az Business magazine and a panel of industry experts. Members of the 2015 list will be recognized at the Most Influential Women in Arizona Cocktail Party on August 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Chateau Luxe. Click here to purchase tickets

“While their resumes and career paths may differ, the women we selected have all procured influence in their respective fields through hard-earned track records of profitability, business ethics and leadership,” said AZ Big Media  Publisher Cheryl Green. “Az Business magazine is proud to congratulate the women who earned the right to call themselves one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business. They are changing the face of Arizona business.”

The women selected to this prestigious list for 2015 are:

Amy Abdo, director, Fennemore Craig

Jennifer Anderson, senior vice president and regional manager, Wells Fargo

Karen Anderson, researcher, ASU’s Biodesign Institute

Lauren Bailey, founder, Upward Projects

Glynis Bryan, CFO, Insight Enterprises

Rita Cheng, president, NAU

Judith S. Gordon, associate professor and associate head for research at the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine

Alisa Gray, shareholder, Tiffany & Bosco

Sue Hasenstein, BMO Harris Bank

Melissa Ho, Polsinelli

Bo Hughes, CFO and COO, Pinnacle Bank

Veronique James, CEO, The James Agency

Isabelle Jazo, senior vice president of strategy, LaneTerralever

Carolyn J. Johnsen, Dickinson Wright

Eileen Klein, Arizona Board of Regents

Rosey Koberlein, CEO, Long Companies

Becky Kuhn, executive vice president, Banner Health

Betsy Kuzas, chief operating officer, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Michelle Lawrie, economic development director, Goodyear

Nona Lee, SVP and general counsel, Arizona Diamondbacks

Hope Leibsohn, member, Sherman & Howard

Stacey L. Lihn, Gallagher & Kennedy

Tina Machado, president, CodeRed-I

Carol May, president, Wisdom Natural Brands DBA SweetLeaf

Sara McCoy, first female to manage a power plant for SRP

Erica McGinnis, president and CEO, AIG Advisor Group

Tammy McLeod, vice president, APS

Rose Megian, president and CEO, Health Net of Arizona

Dion Messer, general counsel – intellectual property, Limelight Networks

MaryAnn Miller, senior vice president, Avnet

Ioanna Morfessis, president, IO.Inc.

Harriet Mountcastle-Walsh,VP and General Counsel, Honeywell

Annette G. Musa, Arizona market president, Comerica Bank

Christine Nowaczyk, senior vice president, Bank of Arizona

Deborah Pearson, Arizona State Credit Union

Susan Pepin, president and CEO, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Suzanne Pfister, president and CEO, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives

Christina Roderick, principal, REDW

Patricia Rourke, market president, Bankers Trust

Lisa Sanchez, COO, The CORE Institute

Adelaida V. Severson, president and CEO, Bushtex

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ 9th District

Sherri Slayton, Alliance Bank of Arizona

Wendi A. Sorensen, Burch & Cracchiolo

Molly Stockley, vice president of hospital growth, CTCA

Cathy Valenzuela, president, Arizona Business Bank

Kimberly Van Amburg, CEO, Casino Del Sol Resort

Cheryl Vogt, managing director, Marsh

Cynthia Walter, president, BAGNALL

Lori L. Winkelman, Quarles & Brady LLP

In addition to the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business, Az Business also selects five “Generation Next” women who are making an impact on Arizona, even though they are less than 40 years old. Those women selected for 2014 are:

Denyse Airheart, interim director of economic development, City of Maricopa

Jessica Benford, shareholder, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite

Dr. Ivana Dzeletovic, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

Stephanie Parra, executive director, T.W. Lewis Foundation

Teresa M. Pilatowicz, of counsel, Garman Turner Gordon

To select the best and brightest women to recognize each year, the editor and publisher of Az Business magazine compile a list of almost 1,000 women from every facet of Arizona’s business landscape — banking, law, healthcare, bioscience, real estate, technology, manufacturing, retail, tourism, energy, accounting and nonprofits. Once that list is compiled, we vet the list, narrow it down to about 150 women who we feel are most deserving, and then submit the list to 20 of their peers — female leaders from a variety or industries — and ask them to vote. If they want to vote for someone whose name is not on the list of those submitted for consideration, voters are invited to write in the names of women who they think deserve to members of this exclusive club.

Az Business also does not allow a woman to appear on the list most than once.


Sara McCoy: Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Sara McCoy, plant manager, Agua Fria Generating Station, SRP

McCoy oversees production at one of SRP’s longest-running power plants. She has mentored personnel, contributed to improving collaboration between departments and led efforts to build the utility’s power grid back-up control center.

Greatest accomplishment: “Achieving success at SRP, including becoming the first female plant manager, while being a wife and mother.”

Childhood aspiration: “I wanted to become an engineer to solve problems and set a good example by exceeding people’s expectations.”

Reception: The 2015 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business will be recognized at the Most Influential Women in Arizona Cocktail Party on August 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Chateau Luxe. Click here to purchase tickets.

Release of Rescued Herons at Roosevelt Dam

SRP, Liberty Wildlife release herons at Roosevelt Dam

SRP and Liberty Wildlife released two rescued, great blue herons to the wild Tuesday morning. The three-month-old herons were rescued from the top of Roosevelt Dam by SRP employee Chris Cliburn.

Last spring, Cliburn found a nest with three eggs on top of a stilling well he uses every day to measure the lake levels.

“The birds built their nest right in the middle of a busy area for us. At least once a day, one or two operators would have to come to that area to take lake measurements,” said Cliburn, operations specialist at Roosevelt Dam.

Great blue herons are native to Arizona and often found at SRP reservoirs including Roosevelt Lake. The birds and their nests are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They are colonial nesters and tend to build their nests close to other herons.

With the nest in the way, Cliburn called on SRP avian expert Lesly Swanson for advice on moving the nest. Swanson contacted the US Fish and Wildlife Service to determine how SRP should address the nest.  SRP then worked with Liberty Wildlife to evaluate their options at Roosevelt Dam.  Liberty Wildlife and SRP quickly determined that there was no safe location where the nest could be moved.   Therefore, Liberty Wildlife took possession of the eggs and nest.

“In our regular day-to-day operations, we often encounter birds and in some instances we may have to move a nest to ensure the well-being of the birds and the delivery of safe, reliable water and power.  SRP works closely with Liberty Wildlife to address wildlife needs at SRP facilities,” said Lesly Swanson, senior environmental scientist in SRP’s biological and cultural resources group.

Swanson’s group ensures that SRP is in compliance with federal and state environmental and cultural resources policies and regulations.

The surviving two herons, whom Cliburn named Monique and Unique, were released Tuesday morning at the base of the dam and now have a good chance of surviving, said Laura Hackett, a Liberty Wildlife volunteer.

“This is a really great outcome,” Hackett said. “They seem really comfortable like they are going to be able to adapt really well. I expect great things.”


SRP ‘Popsicle Truck’ will roll through the Valley

In a continued effort to inform and inspire customers to make changes in their electricity use, SRP will help unsuspecting customers alleviate the heat with a frozen treat and spread the message of energy efficiency.

The SRP-branded popsicle truck will make the rounds two to three times a week in SRP’s territory from July 25 to Sept. 5. Free frozen treats will be handed out at unannounced times and locations such as parks, hospitals and park and ride lots to provide unsuspecting customers with a “feel-good moment” during the heat of the day.
“This tour is part of SRP’s ‘This is How Good It Feels to Save’ energy-efficiency campaign, which launched in 2013,” said Cindy Marzofka, director of Marketing and Brand Management. “We continually engage customers in new and memorable ways to inspire them to save energy and money.”


SRP ranks highest among residential customers

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.

Trucks CrossingBorderat Nogales

Arizona trade mission builds confidence with Mexico

President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), Chris Camacho, joined Governor Doug Ducey in Mexico City for an important trade mission last week, with more than 40 business, university and government leaders – including GPEC board members Sharon Harper of The Plaza Companies, David Rousseau of SRP and University of Arizona President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart.

At $15.8 billion, bilateral trade (imports into Arizona and exports to Mexico) between Arizona and Mexico is larger than the state’s next six largest trading partners combined. And according to an April 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, growth for total exports and manufacturing exports to Mexico is up 22.7 percent and 28.5 percent, respectively.  

“Arizona and Mexico share more than an important border for global commerce, but are also connected by the rich historical, social and cultural ties,” said Camacho. “Governor Ducey’s leadership, and the work of David Farca, president of the Arizona Mexico Commission, has set a new tone and reinvigorated dialogue with Mexico City.”

The impact of Gov. Ducey’s trade mission, and the recent opening of the Trade & Investment Office in Mexico City, sends a strong message that Greater Phoenix and the state of Arizona is open for business with our neighbor to the south. With more than 370 miles of shared border, there is an unparalleled opportunity for both Arizona and Mexico to continue to increase trade.

Camacho also added, “The meetings this past week with government and business leaders will further enhance the economic prosperity for both sides of the border, and I am eager to continue the work being done to foster this growth.”

For an international guide to doing business in Greater Phoenix, visit http://www.gpec.org/toolkit.  


SRP adds social media tools for monsoon season

This monsoon season SRP electric customers now have access to more information about outages in their neighborhoods and throughout the Valley.

The start date of the monsoon season is June 15, according to the National Weather Service.

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. Today, more than 60,000 customers have signed up for the outage communications.

In addition, the SRP outage map – which provides customers with details such as outage locations, how many are impacted, the outage start time, cause and the estimated time of restoration – is available on the web and on mobile devices at srpnet.com.

SRP reminds Valley residents to follow these summer safety tips:

  • Be sure to fully charge your mobile devices and tablets in case of an outage. Also, have flashlights, a battery-operated radio and a phone readily accessible, and check to make sure the batteries are good.
  • Maintain a first-aid kit that includes your family’s prescription medications. Make sure items     in the first-aid kit are in usable condition.
  • 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 swim during a storm.  Lightning can strike bodies of water.
energy policies

Nominations open for Environmental Excellence Awards

Arizona Forward is currently accepting nominations for its 35th annual Environmental Excellence Awards program, the state’s oldest and largest competition of its kind. The event – known as the Academy Awards of the local environmental community – is presented in partnership with SRP and recognizes significant contributions to the sustainability of the Grand Canyon State.

This signature program now embraces projects throughout Arizona, with all categories dedicated to its expanded geographic focus.  In taking a fresh approach to the historical program, Arizona Forward is unveiling two new award categories, including the Governor’s Award For Arizona’s Future, as well as a Healthy Communities category. All categories are now open to entries throughout Arizona for the first time ever!

The association is requiring submissions be submitted electronically via its FTP site or by mail on a CD-ROM or flash drive. Nominations will be accepted through 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, in the following broad-based categories:

·         Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future – NEW CATEGORY
·         Buildings and Structures
·         Healthy Communities – NEW CATEGORY
·         Energy and Technology Innovation
·         Site Development
·         Art in Public Places
·         Environmental Education/Communication
·         SRP Award for Environmental Stewardship

First-place winners in each of the 17 subcategories will receive the Crescordia award, named for the Greek term meaning “To grow in harmony.” Arizona Forward will also confer its most prestigious honor, the President’s Award, on an individual or organization that has had an exceptional impact on environmental quality.

Recipients will be announced at the awards gala on Saturday, September 12, 2015, at a brand new venue – the Chateau Luxe. More than 600 business and civic leaders typically attend.

Environmental Excellence Awards are highly sought by companies both large and small, government agencies, cities and towns, design professionals, educators, media representatives, artists, technicians and others.

Finalists will be notified prior to the gala; however, specific awards will not be announced until that evening. All winners will be asked to prepare a presentation board featuring their project, which will be displayed at the awards banquet and included in a year-long, museum-quality traveling exhibit.

Finalists will also be spotlighted in a special section featured in the Phoenix Business Journal and first-place Crescordia winners will be featured in a one-year museum-quality traveling exhibit to high profile locations throughout Arizona.


Water Conservation, City of Phoenix

East Valley Partnership will host SRP forum on water

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.


$924M bond sale approved by SRP board, council

Salt River Project’s Board and Council has approved the sale of more than $924 million of highly rated, Series A public power revenue bonds, which will save SRP customers more than $130 million over the next 20 years — more than $90 million on a present value basis — and lower SRP’s overall borrowing costs.

Associate General Manager Aidan McSheffrey, SRP’s chief financial executive, said the sale will be one of the week’s largest municipal market transactions as well as one of SRP’s largest. The transaction will produce more than $300 million of new money for capital projects and construction, with the rest of the bonds refunding outstanding debt for savings. SRP has no specific plans for a bond sale to follow the current transaction, he said.

“Our six-year financial plan includes capital expenditures to meet future electric system growth and replacement of aging infrastructure, and this transaction helps achieve that as well as keeping our electric prices among the lowest in the Southwest,” said McSheffrey, who added that SRP’s bonds received a very good response from the municipal bond market this week from both retail and institutional buyers.

Corporate Treasurer Steve Hulet, SRP’s senior director of financial services, said last week’s pricing drew interest from several sectors, with 42 buyers participating in the bidding. 

“The timing was such that we were going to market when there was volatility with Treasuries, so we weren’t sure how that was going to affect the response to our transaction,” said Hulet. “However, Goldman Sachs and the banking team did a great job of assessing the market and setting a price scale that proved to be a good balance for both the market and SRP.”

Goldman Sachs & Co. served as senior manager for the transaction, which included co-managers BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. Goldman Sachs priced the Series 2015A electric system revenue bonds for institutions on Wednesday. With final maturity in 2045, the tax-exempt bonds carry ratings of Aa1 from Moody’s Investors Service and AA from Standard & Poor’s.

SRP is the nation’s third-largest public power utility and the largest provider of electricity to 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 agricultural, urban and municipal water users.


SRP customer shares ways to save on utility bill

With a little planning, Aprilee Peña, a Gilbert mother of three, will save money on her energy bills this summer, while keeping cool and comfortable. The Peña family is one of more than 100,000 customers who are already on the SRP EZ-3™ Price Plan. Last year, the Peña’s saved close to $300 by limiting energy use during just three hours on weekdays.

“We love the EZ-3 Price Plan. It is family friendly and easy to save,” said Peña. “We’re on a monthly budget and as a family we work together to keep within that budget, so from 3 to 6 p.m. during the week, we are careful with our power use.”

EZ-3 helps customers save on their energy bills when they plan ahead and use less energy during three, higher-cost on-peak hours – either 3 to 6 p.m. or 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays when energy costs more to produce. The rest of the hours, including weekends and six holidays are off-peak and priced lower. For the Peña family, using a programmable thermostat to precool the home yields needed savings.

“I plan ahead to keep the house comfortable by precooling. It is very easy to do with a programmable thermostat. I lower the temperature before the three hours, and then raise it from 3 to 6 p.m. By 3 p.m., my air conditioner barely runs,” said Peña. “And if we really want to cool off, we jump in the pool or go out for a bit, and return in time for the AC to kick in again at 6 p.m.”

The 30-year old mother says her crockpot is her “best friend” during the summer months because it allows her to cook meals ahead of time and keep the oven turned off so the kitchen isn’t hot. Also, to save money during the 3 to 6 p.m. time frame, she doesn’t use the dishwasher, dryer or any large appliance. Aprilee says the extra cash is spent for summer vacations and their savings have convinced many friends to switch to

“Customers who save on EZ-3 see an average savings of 5.5 percent annually on their electric bill,” said Cindy Marzofka, SRP’s director of marketing and brand management. “The EZ-3 Price Plan is a great option for any customer who can plan ahead and limit energy use during three on-peak weekday hours — either 3 to 6 p.m. or 4 to 7 p.m.”

SRP customers can try the EZ-3 Price Plan for 90 days. If the first three bills exceed what would have been paid on the residential Basic Price Plan, they can call SRP within 30 days of the third bill to be credited the difference and returned to the Basic plan at no charge. To learn more, go to srpnet.com/EZ3savings or call (602) 236-8888.


Six SRP employees honored for volunteer work

In recognition of the invaluable contribution of their time, efforts and expertise to their communities, six SRP employee volunteers were awarded the SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award.

The award recognizes employees and retirees who are leaders in volunteerism and who serve as excellent examples of the power of caring.

“One of the truly remarkable aspects of the SRP employee family is the unwavering commitment to volunteerism that spans the entire organization,” said SRP President David Rousseau, who added that SRP employees and retirees, with help from their friends and families, donate thousands of volunteer hours a year to their communities. “Employees from all areas of the company help us build stronger communities through their personal commitment to volunteering.”

This year, SRP recognized employee Mike Heath with the Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award for his sustained leadership in addressing significant community needs. The late Karl F. Abel, a Glendale resident who served as president of SRP from 1972 to 1982, was a strong community advocate and  provided volunteer leadership to numerous organizations.

The 2015 SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award honorees and the nonprofits they assist are:

Chandler resident Nancy Brooks – Most Valuable Pets

Nancy Brooks devotes more than 20 hours a week to Most Valuable Pets (MVP) and helps deliver mobile dog and cat health services to needy communities by supporting free spay/neuter events. Moving from neighborhood to neighborhood, the mobile surgical unit spayed and neutered more than 6,700 dogs and cats last year. Brooks manages all the publicity in the communities MVP visits; schedules and confirms appointments; picks up and delivers surgical patients; searches for grants to support the charity; and finds loving homes for unwanted animals. She has been with MVP for more than two years. In that time, the organization has helped thousands of pets in many underserved areas across the Valley. The MVP director says they could not do the work they do without Brooks’ ongoing support — she makes sure the mobile vet clinic runs efficiently and smoothly.

Chandler resident Dennis Gerlach – Flying Samaritans Arizona, Phoenix Chapter

Dennis Gerlach is a pilot who uses his plane to fly health care volunteers to Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, to provide medical, dental and optical care to the residents in this small, remote fishing village. This volunteer group provides medical services to underserved communities in Mexico one Saturday per month, 10 months out of the year, and recently added a second clinic in Laguna San Ignacio. Gerlach has been active with the Flying Samaritans since 2008. In 2011, he became the Phoenix Chapter’s president, and this past summer, he was named vice president of the Flying Samaritans Arizona. Though not a medical practitioner, he supports efforts by serving as a clinic coordinator and by using his electrical engineering knowledge to repair medical and dental equipment. Gerlach also helps maintain the facility where the clinics are held. 

Peoria resident Mike Heath (KFA recipient) – Peoria Arizona Historical Society

The city of Peoria was established in 1886, and with nearly 130 years of history, the Peoria Arizona Historical Society is in charge of collecting, preserving, protecting and displaying significant artifacts, photographs and other materials for future generations. Mike Heath is the Historical Society’s vice chairman of the board and has been with the organization for two years. He is active in fundraising events, identifying opportunities for grants and providing tours of the jail house and museum. Heath is often found cleaning, making repairs and maintaining the museum to save the Historical Society money. In addition to the Historical Society, he also volunteers with Leadership West, the Glendale/Peoria YMCA, Benevilla and the Challenger Space Center Arizona. Heath spends much of his free time each month supporting a number of organizations near and dear to his heart. Identifying need and then helping address it, he is the recipient of this year’s Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award for his wide-ranging volunteer work in the community.

Phoenix resident Kim Humphrey – Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

Working to eliminate substandard housing in our community, Kim Humphrey has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona for nine years after introducing the SRP PowerWise home program to the charity as a Key Account Manager. Since then, Habitat has become one of the largest single-family LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) builders in the state of Arizona. Humphrey has been an active board member for several years and recently completed her term as chairman where she guided the board’s efforts and worked closely with the organization’s CEO to meet strategic goals. She raised money, recruited volunteers, led publicity campaigns, developed new community partnerships and helped build homes – all of which translated into 60 homes that meet the needs of more than 300 families. Humphrey also led the planning efforts for the Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona’s 1,000th home celebration with the help of several SRP employees.

St. Johns resident Les Young – New Hope Ranch

New Hope Ranch provides transitional housing for victims of domestic violence as well as food boxes and firewood for the homeless in Apache County. Les Young has been volunteering with New Hope Ranch since 1998, assisting in maintaining the transitional homes, fixing plumbing and electrical issues and ensuring that everything is clean, in good working order and stocked with supplies for those in need. He helps when emergency situations arise and also performs regular volunteer work, including cutting wood, spraying weeds, painting and cleaning safe houses or helping out at the New Hope Chest thrift store. Living in a small town magnifies the needs of people in the community. Seeing this need, Young spends up to 25 hours a month supporting New Hope Ranch’s mission to better serve his community.


Tempe resident Nancy Starr-Cassidy – Toastmasters International, District 3

For nearly 30 years, Nancy Starr-Cassidy has been a member and a volunteer leader in Toastmasters International, District 3, an organization devoted to helping individuals become more effective communicators and leaders. First elected as an officer in the mid-1990s, Starr-Cassidy continued to be elected to higher offices, culminating in her 2004 appointment to the international board of directors. She founded the Toastmasters Leadership Institute after realizing newly elected officers did not have the business or leadership experience to guide the organization. Spending 40 hours each month, Starr-Cassidy provides instructional design skills to review and develop new curriculum for winter and summer education programs. She also serves as chief ambassador for the Revitalized Education Program and leads volunteer efforts to roll out a new educational program for Arizona’s 214 clubs.


AXA Advisors Southwest earns Governor’s Award

The Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism announced that AXA Advisors Southwest, a leading provider of financial services for consumers and businesses, has been named a recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for its dedicating to volunteerism, fundraising and general community service. AXA Advisors Southwest was honored by Governor Doug Ducey’s office on Friday, April 17 during a special event in the recipients’ honors held at the East Valley Institute of Technology.

“The volunteer Service Awards were established in 2002 to recognize and thank Arizonans who have dedicated their time and talents to help address the needs most important to Arizona communities,” said Carla Friedman, youth program development director for the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families. “A statewide panel of judges evaluated nominations for need, action, innovation and impact, and chose AXA Advisors Southwest based on its work with Elevate Phoenix, the AXA Achievement Scholarship Program and AXA Days of Service, among other activities.”

“We’ve raised funds to fill backpacks for kids in need and rolled up our sleeves to build homes for some amazing families in Arizona, not to mention created our own large-scale charity event – Weekend Jetaway Culinary Casino Classic – to give back in every way that we can,” says Dillan Micus, executive vice president of AXA Advisors Southwest. “It takes a village – and at AXA Advisors Southwest we become that village, all in the name of volunteering and raising funds for our nonprofit.”

Sponsors of the Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards include the Arizona State Fair, ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, ASU Office of University Initiatives, Cox Communications, Harkins Theaters, SRP, Fry’s and other businesses and organizations that are ardent supporters of volunteerism in Arizona.



SRP earns honor for grid modernization

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.
The Grand Conceptual Rendering Final

LPC will develop 3.2M SF The Grand at Papago Park Center

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.


SRP board approves reduced price hike

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.


Business customers rank SRP highest in West

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.
Those include:
  • –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.

SRP prepares grid to support new technology systems

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.

Ice skaters at Fairmont Princess

Top 5 holiday mainstays in Arizona

Whether you are an Arizona-local or just in town for the holidays, there are dozens of festivities happening every hour from now until the start of 2015. But there are, of course, some favorites. Here is a list of our top five holiday mainstays, in no particular order:

Christmas at the Princess

First on the list is the fifth annual Christmas at the Princess festival happening now through Jan. 4. This five-star resort will be transformed into a winter wonderland full of lights, drinks and food, rides and shopping. There will also be a 6,000 square foot ice rink and a Santa’s Workshop. Until Jan. 4, there will be a series of events hosted at the Christmas-renovated resort. There are also two-packages available for overnight stays during this holiday season for those out-of-state holiday visitors.

For more information, visit here.


PJs in the Park

What better reason to go than an excuse to wear your pajamas in public? Next is downtown Phoenix’s PJs in the Park event on Dec. 5 from 6 to 10 p.m., located at 424 N. Central Ave.  A family friendly event for the holiday where people are invited out to celebrate the holidays with free hot chocolate, a double feature of Elf and Polar Express, and a ride on the “Urban Polar Express,” the METRO Light Rail.

For more information, visit here.


Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade

Tempe Beach Park is back at it for the holiday season. On Dec. 13 at 5 p.m., SRP is hosting the 2014 Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade. Admission is free to spectators and all are invited out to enjoy a night full of lights. Santa will make a special appearance and join the crowd in enjoying the live entertainment, fireworks, and a festively lit and decorated boat parade on the lake.

For more information visit their website here.


Polar Express

This next event may be a bit of a drive for many in the Phoenix Metro, but it is well worth it. If you have young-ones in the family then a trip from now until Jan. 4 to Williams, Ariz. for the Polar Express is a must.  On this hour-long train tour you and your guests will be taken on a magical journey to the North Pole while Santa reads the original Christmas story and children sing carols together.

For more information visit their website here.


Winterhaven Festival of Lights

Last but certainly not least, we chose an event that truly highlights the giving spirit of the holiday season. Only a 90-minute drive from Phoenix, and the home to the University of Arizona, Tucson, will be the home to the 65th annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights at the Winterhaven Neighborhood Central Tucson from 6 to 10 p.m. from Dec. 13 through 27. People are welcome to walk, bike, skate, or take a trolley through the neighborhood and admire the lights, decorations, and holiday music. Entrance is free, but they ask for donations to the Tucson Community Food Bank.

For more information visit their website here.



Holiday Tree Auction

SRP stresses safety with holiday decorations

With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us will be hanging lights, decorating trees and finding creative ways to celebrate the season.

Salt River Project (SRP) is encouraging customers to stay safe this holiday season as they bring out the decorative lights bulbs, surge protectors and extension cords to energize the holidays.
Each year, fire departments across the country respond to hundreds of home structure fires that begin with Christmas trees or holiday lights, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“It’s important to remember to check your lights and power cords as you decorate your homes to make sure they are in proper, working condition,” said Erika Castro, with SRP Safety Connection.

Below are some tips to remember:

• Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, loose connections or frayed or bare wires. Discard all damaged cords.
• Indoors or out, use only lights that have been tested for safety. The lights should have the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) label.
• To hook up your outdoor lighting, use a three-prong grounded extension cord with the UL label.
• Uncoil extension cords completely before using, and be sure to place them away from heat sources and bulbs.
• Unplug tree lights and decorative outdoor lighting before leaving the house or going to bed.


How Arizona wildfires impact water supply, economy

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.”


SRP recognizes Champions of Energy Efficiency

SRP honored seven innovative businesses and organizations for their energy-efficiency efforts and savings at the inaugural Champions of Energy Efficiency Awards event.

The awards are part of SRP’s efforts to encourage commercial customers to take advantage of the SRP Business Solutions programs to reduce energy use and save money.

“Utility costs can be one of the biggest expenditures for businesses, and SRP has made an effort to assist companies in reducing those costs,” said Dan Dreiling, SRP director of Market Research and Customer Programs. “The organizations we recognized today are to be commended for their efforts to implement new technologies, institute behavioral change and forge paths for energy efficiency.”

Through its Business Solutions programs, SRP partners with commercial customers to help them decrease their energy use, which defers the need for future energy generation, reduces emissions and helps control costs.

As a result of these efforts, last year SRP surpassed its energy-efficiency goals with commercial customers providing a combined annual energy savings of 195 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), which is equivalent to powering more than 10,000 homes for one year.

Helping local firms grow is the cornerstone of SRP’s economic development efforts. The utility’s award-winning customer service team helps local business owners by providing critical information about potential sites and money-saving rebates on energy-efficient upgrades and new construction.

SRP’s Sustainable Portfolio Principles, which guide decisions regarding energy-efficiency measures and the acquisition of renewable energy resources, have established a goal of meeting 20 percent of expected retail requirements with sustainable resources by the year 2020.

The award recipients, chosen from 14 finalists, are listed below. Profiles of all 14 finalists can be found at srpnet.com/awards.

Large Business – Fry’s Food and Drug: The retail food company took advantage of the SRP Business Solutions rebate programs to implement 50 projects in 30 metropolitan Phoenix stores, encompassing roughly 2.1 million square feet of store and administrative space. So far, Fry’s has realized 1.2 million kWh in energy savings per year and shaved peak demand by more than 140 kilowatts.

Midsize Business – Capri on Camelback, Greystar: The organization implemented a lighting retrofit in which every light bulb on the property was replaced with energy-efficient lighting resulting in annual energy savings of more than 600,000 kWh – enough to power more than 50 occupied apartments for an entire year.

Small Business – Temple Beth Sholom of the East Valley: A lighting-retrofit project reduced annual energy use by 47,000 kWh resulting in an overall annual savings of 50 percent.

Schools K-12 – Isaac School District: The district’s HVAC systems were upgraded saving nearly 500,000 kWh of energy use annually, which is enough energy to power one school for an entire year.

Colleges and Universities – Maricopa Community Colleges: The college district realized an annual savings of 1.1 million kWh (enough to power more than 60 homes for one year) through retrocommissioning and upgraded lighting projects.

Charitable and Nonprofit – St. Daniel the Prophet Roman Catholic Parish: The parish developed a new energy-saving strategy for the entire campus – replacing old outdated lighting with new lighting technology – resulting in a 46 percent savings in energy costs.

Outstanding Achievement – Banner Health: Cardon Children’s Medical Center implemented low-cost energy-efficiency measures that resulted in savings of more than 2 million kWh in the first year. Banner updated several buildings under the SRP Standard and Custom business solutions programs resulting in 1.5 million kWh of savings. The combined energy savings are equivalent to powering more than 190 homes for a year.

energy policies

SRP Surpasses Energy Efficiency Goals

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.

Final Rendering

Ronald McDonald House Completes $2.1M Capital Campaign

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix has completed a two-year, $2.1 million fund-raising campaign to cover all construction, furnishing and decorating expenses for the Valley’s third Ronald McDonald House and the first in the East Valley.

Renovation has begun on the 12,600 square foot former health care facility on the campus of Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, which is expected to open in November. The 248-bed Cardon Children’s Medical Center is operated by Banner Health.

The new facility will feature 16 bedrooms, including 2 apartments with kitchens for families with children with suppressed immune systems; a community kitchen, living and dining room; play area for children and outdoor area for adults and children. When completed, and in combination with the other two Ronald McDonald Houses, up to 79 families will have a home-away-from home every night. The new House will provide 5,840 nights a year.

“We now know it’s possible to be relieved and thrilled at the same time,” said Executive Director Nancy Roach, who has been at the helm of the organization for 14 years and has overseen fundraising and construction of two of the three Ronald McDonald Houses in the Valley. “Being able to serve families in the East Valley has been a longtime goal of ours. The community fully understood that by helping to fund this project, they ensure that families traveling to Cardon Children’s Medical Center can stay close to their children.”

The original Ronald McDonald House is located at 501 E. Roanoke Ave. A second House opened in 2008 on the campus of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The $2.1 million was secured primarily through private donations from individuals, foundations, corporate supporters and Valley-based McDonald’s owner/operators, who have committed to provide up to $150,000 of required operating expenses for the first three years. The Ronald McDonald House does not receive direct funding from the McDonald’s Corporation, but is generously supported by McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators in Central and Northern Arizona.

Among the largest donors to the project are the Gila River Indian Community, The Kemper Marley Foundation, The Halle Family Foundation, SRP, The Thunderbirds, Ronald McDonald House Charities Global and other generous community donors.

Plans for opening celebrations are underway and details will be announced later this summer.

HKS Architects of Phoenix designed the new house. UEB Builders is the general contractor.

For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix, visit www.rmhcphoenix.com. For more information about Cardon Children’s Medical Center, visit www.bannerhealth.com/CardonChildrens.