News Release

Commissioner Kennedy asks, is the Arizona Electric Grid Resilient?

From the Office of Commissioner Sandra D. Kennedy

For Immediate Release | 2-24-2021

Media Contact | Offices of Commissioner Sandra D. Kennedy

Direct |  602-542-3933

E-Mail | SDKennedy-web@azcc.gov

Phoenix — In less than a year we’ve seen California residents suffer through rolling blackouts in one of the hottest summers on record.  Last week, Texas residents endured devastating winter storms that left thousands without power in below freezing temperatures.  As extreme weather events occur more frequently due to climate change, I question whether Arizona is adequately prepared for these challenges.  A recent assessment from the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (“WECC”) raises red flags for the resilience and reliability of the grid in the western United States as a whole and for Arizona specifically.  And so, when I ask, will Arizona be prepared for the next several summers?  I want Arizona Public Service Company, Tucson Electric Power Company, UNS Electric, Inc. and Southwest Gas Corporation to provide frequent, detailed preparedness updates so the Commission can be sure we have that answer, whatever the season.

In addition to calling for more frequent updates, I am hosting a workshop to address utilities’ long- term resource needs and planning on March 15, 2021.  Some questions I hope will be answered include:

  • How will the utilities increase needed resiliency and capacity to the grid over the next 5, 15, 20, 30 years?
  • Are utilities looking to the future as well as to the past for their data?
  • Are utilities coordinating their long-term planning or are they operating as though Arizona is an island?

These questions are critical to the future of Arizona’s electricity operations and therefore, to the health and economic well-being of Arizona.  If you would like more information about the March 15, 2021 workshop please email SDKennedy-web@azcc.gov.

You can contact Commissioner Kennedy by email at SDKennedy-web@azcc.gov and on Twitter @SandraDKennedy.

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