Community unites to assist in outage
There's an old adage that says: Man plans and nature laughs.
At Arizona Public Service, we plan for the hot summer months by making sure our equipment is well maintained, our crews are well trained and that we have an adequate supply of electricity to serve our customers. We also plan for contingencies by conducting line patrols and managing vegetation around our lines.
But sometimes, despite all our careful planning, nature has other plans.
A few weeks ago, a lightning strike on a neighborhood substation put our summer preparations and our community partnerships to the test. While crews descended on the substation to make repairs, calls went out to the businesses and residents in the area to ask for their cooperation in assisting APS shed some electric load so repairs could be made.
The response we got from the community was overwhelmingly positive.
In order to make repairs, APS rerouted power to two adjoining substations and transferred all the customers normally served on the damaged substation. Doing that, however, increased the load on those two substations, which serve residents and a number of Yuma County buildings within the affected boundaries between Colorado Street and 24th Street from Avenue C to Arizona Avenue.
But thanks to cooperative and helpful customers in the affected area, we worked together to resolve the situation. Area residents turned up their thermostats, and Yuma County manually changed their controls in a number of their facilities, including the justice center, the detention facility, and some administration buildings. These actions assisted in reducing electric load until repairs could be made to the substation that was struck.
Due specifically to the strong partnership we share with the community and the help of our local media in communicating with our customers, we were able to successfully make repairs and prevent a larger outage from occurring.
While nature can be a devastating and destructive force, I believe the cooperation and partnership within our community can be even more powerful.
As the summer heat and monsoons persist, APS will continue to ensure our system is safe and reliable, knowing that Mother Nature can still tamper with even the best-laid plans.
Andrea Bereznak is the business and community relations manager for Arizona Public Service. She can be reached at Andrea.Bereznak@aps.com.