/ Modified may 2, 2022 4:42 p.m.

Arizona power companies tell regulators that blackouts could be in the future

The companies said they will be ready for this summer, but future summers could put a strain on their operations.

Tucson Skyline Night hero Overlooking the Tucson city skyline at night.
Andrew Brown/AZPM

Power companies across Arizona warned regulators last week that blackouts could become more common in the coming years as global temperatures continue to rise with no end in sight.

Every power company that presented at the Arizona Corporation Commission’s annual summer preparedness meeting said that they are set for this summer, even if it gets hotter than expected.

But past that, they are not so sure. Spokesperson Joseph Barrios of Tucson Electric Power said that includes his company.

"We are also concerned about providing the best service that we can, and so that's why we prepare and think about these things now, so we can avoid as much inconveniences as possible," Barrios said.

The companies cited wildfires, droughts, lack of new power plants and delays in solar industry growth as a few of the reasons why supplying power will only get more challenging.

They also said rapid population growth and increasingly hotter summers play a role.

Barrios said that TEP is looking for new sources of energy to ensure consistent service in the future.

"It has to be reliable, it has to be cost effective and it has to be available on the time that’s useful for us and that we can use, again, to get through some of these hot summers," Barrios said.

He also said it’s possible TEP could seek government grants or tax benefits to bring more energy online.

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