APS introduces new tool that may result in temporarily shutting down power

APS introduces new tool that may result in temporarily shutting down power
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PHOENIX — The peak of season is fast approaching and APS is adding a new tool they say will keep customers safe in case of extreme fire danger conditions.

It’s called PSPS, or Power Safety Public Shutoff. APS said the tool requires them to shut down power if extreme fire weather conditions occur, including hot temperatures and low humidity.

APS meteorologist Cindy Kobold said the most important weather observation that APS takes into consideration when discussing a shutoff is the wind.

“The difference between an extreme event and a regular run-of-the-mill spring windy day could be the difference between 30 to 40 mile per hour winds, or 50 to 60 mile per hour winds,” Kobold stated.

If conditions are met, APS will alert impacted communities in Gila, Coconino, and Yavapai counties up to four days in advance that a power shutdown may occur.

If a shutoff is triggered, APS Manager of Fire Mitigation Wade Ward said the power could be off for nearly a day.

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“We understand that an outage to our customers, for any amount of time, is a disruption,” Ward said.

In early April, the Arizona Corporation Commission and elected officials held a town hall in Prescott Valley, allowing APS to answer questions residents had power shutoffs.

APS said collaborating with emergency managers and organizations like the Red to provide temporary shelter will protect the public from fire dangers that the communities face but also prolonged power outages during the hottest time of the year.

“Everybody understood that this is a tool that we will use very rarely, but when we need to do it, it’s the right thing to do,” Ward stated.

In case of a shutoff, APS also said it will have information about ice distribution and cooling shelter resources.

This policy is a first for Arizona but some states have similar policies in place.

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