TEP is ready and well prepared for the impact of triple digit temperatures, including increased air conditioning use and higher energy demand. Through proactive long-term planning, maintenance and upgrades to our local energy grid, we have sufficient generation resources, fuel supplies, purchase agreements and a diverse energy mix to meet customers’ needs, even during extreme heat.

“Our teams take proactive steps to plan and practice so they’re ready for the summer heat we know may stretch for days without relief,” said Cynthia Garcia, Vice President of Energy Delivery and Safety and Chief Information Officer.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about how we’re ready to support customers this summer:

Is the local energy grid ready?

Given the extensive infrastructure we need to maintain, we plan years in advance for the extreme heat of summer. Our resource planners work closely with our grid operators and construction teams in tracking regional growth, evaluating forecasted summer temperatures, planning and executing upgrades and making sure there is enough power supply to support the anticipated energy needs of our community and the expectations of our customers.

Our efforts to maintain and improve our systems continue year-round. In 2023 alone, TEP invested more than $258 million to replace and improve electric switches, transformers and other components of the local energy grid that delivers reliable, around-the-clock service to homes and businesses throughout our community.

Additionally, our crews routinely monitor our infrastructure and patrol about 5,100 miles of transmission and distribution lines across 1,155 square miles of service territory. We use infrared imaging to look for “hot spots” to identify problem areas in our substations before they fail. We patrol transmission corridors regularly in helicopters to identify equipment in need of repair and trees in need of trimming and use drones to identify concerns in hard-to-reach areas.

Is TEP setting demand records?

Our highest recorded usage occurred between 5-6 p.m. on June 16, 2021, when our customers’ net hourly demand peaked at 2,446 megawatts (MW).  Last year, demand peaked at 2,422 MW between 6-7 p.m. on July 25, when the temperature hit 112 degrees.

Our customers typically use the most power between 3-7 p.m.  That’s why we’re encouraging customers to help us defeat the peak by limiting energy use between those times to reduce strain on the grid and take advantage of plentiful clean energy, such as solar and wind. The response to this campaign may have helped us avoid setting a new peak load record last year, as other major Arizona utilities did.

How is TEP supporting customer safety?

We won’t disconnect residential customers for nonpayment during the summer months. We strongly encourage customers to keep making payments throughout the summer to avoid accumulating a large balance that will be hard to pay when cooler weather resumes. Customers with overdue balances after Oct. 15 will be enrolled in a payment arrangement and may be disconnected if they miss their monthly payments to pay down their overdue balances.

How can customers reduce their electric bills?

Average bill reductions of about $10 per month took effect in June as a result of several surcharge updates. But given that summer bills tend to climb with the temperature, it’s important to take steps to use energy wisely. Here are a few tips:

Explore ways to save energy: Improving energy efficiency can lower your energy bills while improving your family’s comfort and quality of life. Simple lifestyle modifications can make a big difference, especially if you an conserve energy during times of peak usage. Because home cooling is typically our customers’ largest energy expense, turning up your thermostat a few degrees can make a big difference in your monthly bills. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer and using fans to help you feel cooler. Our Efficient Home program offers rebates for air conditioning tune-ups and also for replacements if your HVAC system just won’t make it through another summer.

Consider a new pricing plan or payment program: Our Budget Billing program levels out seasonal swings in monthly bills so you can pay the same amount year-round. Discounted rates and emergency bill payment assistance also are available to eligible limited-income customers.

Customers with flexibility to adjust when and how they use energy could find opportunities to reduce their monthly energy bill through a variety of pricing plans, including time-of-use rates that offer discounts for usage outside of 3-7 p.m. weekdays.

We also offer plans that pair reduced energy charges with a “demand” charge based on your highest on-peak energy use. These plans reward customers who can limit their concurrent use of major appliances, such as dishwashers, pool pumps and washing machines, during on-peak hours.

See which plan might be right for you with our Pricing Planner tool, which provides forecasts based on your past 12 months of energy usage. Customers on these plans might consider pre-cooling before peak hours by setting the thermostat a few degrees lower than normal before 3 p.m. and then setting it a few degrees higher than normal during the on-peak period.

Through our Smart Rewards program, customers can earn a $50 virtual prepaid Mastercard®, and help us reduce energy use during times of high energy demand. Visit https://www.tep.com/smart-rewards for more.

Is financial assistance available for customers?

If you’re falling behind on your bills, we want to help. We offer monthly low-income discounts to qualifying customers. We can also help you learn how to apply for agency assistance and can assist with payment plans if you’re falling behind and need more time to pay.

Visit tep.com/payment-assistance or call a Customer Care team member to discuss solutions that might be right for you.

What steps can I take to be prepared this summer?

Just as our crews prepare to stay safe during extreme temperatures, we encourage customers to have a plan to stay safe. Stay hydrated and check on your neighbors and pets.

Brush up on steps you can take in advance to remain safe during an outage at https://www.tep.com/outage-preparation/ and steps to take during a storm https://www.tep.com/outage-storm-safety/

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