From the Office of Chairwoman Márquez Peterson
For Immediate Release | 6-10-2021
Media Contact | Nick Debus
Over the Last Weekend, Temperatures Peaked Well Above Historic Averages, Leading to Massive Energy Usage by Residents
PHOENIX - Arizona Corporation Commission Chairwoman Lea Márquez Peterson is reaching out to Arizona families and advising them that temperatures may be hotter-than-normal this summer, and to be prepared for utility bills and grid constraints that could be higher-than-normal as a result.
Chairwoman Márquez Peterson is encouraging families to conserve energy when possible and take advantage of tips that can help them take control of their energy usage when the cost and demand for electricity is highest during the hottest times of the day.
It’s no secret that Arizona summers are hot. Long-time Arizona residents know that the summer months often represent some of the highest electric bills of the year.
But, while every Arizona summer presents unique public safety risks and affordability challenges for Arizona’s families and most vulnerable populations, Arizona’s notoriously hot summer has started earlier than usual this year.
On Saturday, June 5, and Sunday, June 6, temperatures at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport peaked at 108 degrees Fahrenheit and 105 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Both were both well above historic averages for this time of year.
This early heat is potentially foreshadowing an extremely hot summer for 2021, with projections suggesting temperatures staying at above-average levels throughout the rest of the year.
Along with the heat comes massive energy consumption, as residents, many of whom are still working from home, do whatever they can to stay cool. This increases monthly bills not only because higher temperatures increase air conditioning use, but also because higher demand associated with heating and cooling represents the largest driver of overall utility costs.
To help mitigate the financial impacts and maintain safe and reliable power, this year, Arizona Corporation Commission Chairwoman Lea Márquez Peterson is encouraging Arizonans to take advantage of available energy efficiency programs and commit to voluntary energy conservation measures whenever possible.
“Arizonans should not be surprised if Arizona utilities encourage their customers to voluntarily conserve energy this summer,” said Márquez Peterson. “Preventative measures, such as asking customers to voluntarily adjust their thermostats a few degrees or temporarily reduce their consumption during limited/critical times of the day can assist in reducing the collective strain on the grid during our hottest times of the year. Many utilities offer programs that customers can enroll in and are willing to compensate them for their participation.”
“During an Energy Reliability Summit I hosted in March, our utilities assured us that they will have sufficient resources necessary to maintain a safe and reliable grid this summer,” said Márquez Peterson. “As citizens, however, we have a personal responsibility and should be prepared to do everything we can to protect public health and safety.”
“I understand that residents feel like they must do whatever they can to escape the heat,” said Márquez Peterson. “Following these six, simple recommendations will help Arizonans stay cool, cut down on their bills, curb energy usage during the hours of peak demand, and ensure that our grid remains stable and reliable for every resident.”
Tip #1: Use Fans
Studies have shown that a typical high-efficiency central air conditioning unit uses approximately 3,500 watts of power when in use. A ceiling fan, however, uses approximately 50 watts. A standing plug-in fan consumes even less.
Tip #2: Close Curtains and Blinds
Keeping the sunlight out will keep your home cooler than it would otherwise be.
Tip #3: Avoid Using High-Energy Appliances During Peak Hours
Not using appliances such as ovens, dishwashers, and washing machines during the hours of 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. can go a long way in lowering a home’s energy consumption.
Tip #4: Turn Off the Lights and Unplug Appliances Not in Use
Remember to turn off the lights when you leave any room and unplug appliances. Installing timers or occupancy sensors that automatically turn lights on and off can also help in case you forget.
Tip #5: Change HVAC Filters Every 6 Months
HVAC filters can get very dirty, very easily in an Arizona home because of the levels of dust in the air. When the filter gets dirty and clogged, the cooling system has to use excess energy to push out cool air throughout the house.
Tip #6: Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats can help save money on cooling costs and make it easier to manage your energy use. Furthermore, some Arizona utilities offer their customers a bill credit toward the purchase of each qualifying device.
“As our state continues to be one of the fastest growing in the entire nation, the stresses on our electrical system will continue to mount,” said Márquez Peterson. “I am proud of the work our utility companies have undertaken to prevent outages and blackouts as our summer temperatures increase, and I urge Arizonans to follow these steps and do their part to ensure safe and reliable energy for all.”
For more information or helpful tips on how to “stay cool and stay smart,” please contact 602-542-4251.