News Release

Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson Calls for Emergency Meeting Amid Rolling Energy Blackouts in California

For Immediate Release | 8-17-20

Media Contact | Daniel Schwiebert

Direct | 602-542-3625

E-Mail | DPSchwiebert@azcc.gov


Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson Calls for Emergency Meeting Amid Rolling Energy Blackouts in California

REMOTELY FROM TUCSON — On Monday,Arizona Corporation Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson issued a letter calling for an emergency meeting of Arizona’s public utility commissioners to discuss rolling blackouts in California as the state experiences record high temperatures and insufficient energy supplies.

 

On August 16, 2020, California’s independent grid operator asked Californians to set their air conditioner thermostats to hotter temperatures and not use major appliances between 3 p.m.and 10 p.m. in hopes that enough energy could be conserved to avoid rolling blackouts. Unfortunately, California’s requested energy restrictions did not work and nearly two million people lost power over a four hour period on Friday and nearly one million people were forced into a blackout on Saturday. Sources now indicate that California may continue experiencing blackouts through Monday or possibly longer.

 

Meanwhile, Arizona is experiencing some of the same extreme heat patterns across the state with temperatures over 110 degrees for the 41st day this year, making summer 2020 the hottest summer ever recorded. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic means millions of Arizonans are staying home and relying on their air conditioners to stay cool, causing residential energy demands for utilities such as APS and TEP to increase from four to six percent since March 2020.

 

“I am truly concerned for Arizonans, should a blackout occur during one of our hottest times on record. The thought of telling Arizonans to restrict their air conditioning use during this time, or of not having power at all when Arizonans need electricity the most, is unfathomable at this time,” said Commissioner Márquez Peterson.

 

Commissioner Márquez Peterson’s Office contacted Arizona’s largest electric utilities over the weekend to obtain assurances that similar energy restrictions would not be needed in Arizona, but Commissioner Márquez Peterson also has concerns regarding the cost to vulnerable consumers and wants to hear what protections have been put in place to help keep costs low when local power generation is insufficient.

 

“Arizonans simply cannot afford to both turn down their air conditioners during record temperatures and pay triple the price for energy shortfalls when existing resources are insufficient.While the blackouts seen in California are not a future that Arizonans want to see, massive price spikes necessary to prevent such blackouts are not a future that Arizonans want to see, either," said Commissioner Márquez Peterson.

 

Commissioner Márquez Peterson has asked the Chairman of the Corporation Commission to schedule an emergency meeting to get additional updates from Arizona’s utilities and assurances that Arizona’s utilities are prepared should a similar situation occur here in Arizona.

 

For a copy of Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson’s Letter, click here.

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About Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson, MBA, IOM: 

Lea Márquez PetersonCommissioner Lea Márquez Peterson was appointed to the Arizona Corporation Commission by Governor Doug Ducey in May of 2019. She is the first Latina to serve in a statewide seat in the state of Arizona.

Lea has been an entrepreneur in our community for many years and served as the President/ CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber from 2009 until November of 2018. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber serves the business community in the bilingual, bi-cultural region of the Arizona-Sonora border and was recognized as the Hispanic Chamber of the Year in 2013 by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The chamber represents over 1800-member businesses and in partnership with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is one of the largest chambers in the State of Arizona.

She ran for Congress in Arizona Congressional District 2 in 2018 and won a competitive primary race though lost the general election. She previously served as the Executive Director for Greater Tucson Leadership (GTL) from 2005 to 2009 and owned and operated a Business Brokerage Firm from 2005 to 2009 and a chain of six gasoline stations / convenience stores with 50 employees from 1998 to 2005 in the Tucson region.

Lea has been appointed to serve on the Arizona Judicial Council which advises the Arizona Supreme Court and the Arizona Finance Authority, the state’s bonding authority. She chairs the Board of Directors of Carondelet’s St Mary’s and St Joseph’s Hospitals in Tucson and is the former Chair of the Pima Association of Governments’ Economic Vitality Committee. She serves on the Boards of the University of Arizona Foundation and the Pima County Workforce Investment Board and is the President of the National Association of Women Business Owners in Tucson. She also serves on the national board for the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

She received her undergraduate degrees in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the University of Arizona, and her Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. She is married with two children.

Twitter: @LeaPeterson
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leamarquezpeterson/

The Arizona Corporation Commission was established by the state’s constitution to regulate public utilities and business incorporation. The Corporation Commission is Arizona’s co-equal, fourth branch of government. The five Commissioners elected to the Corporation Commission oversee executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings on behalf of Arizonans when it comes to their water, electricity, telephone, and natural gas resources as well as the regulation of securities, pipeline, and railroad safety. To learn more about the Arizona Corporation Commission and its Commissioners, visit http://azcc.gov.


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