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Hobbs calls for utilities’ game plans amid record-breaking hot streak

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(The Center Square)— As the Phoenix area continues to brace a record-breaking heat wave, Gov. Katie Hobbs is calling for clear plans from utility companies.

In a Friday letter, the governor asked the companies to provide “action plans,” as well as an invitation to a “roundtable meeting” to discuss protecting the grid, among other issues. As air conditioning needs electricity to run, utility companies play an important role during the summer.

“Despite a mild start to the summer, the Phoenix metro area has seen 18 confirmed heat-related deaths, with 68 additional suspected as of July 15,” Hobbs wrote. “As this devastating heat wave continues, the risk of heat-related death, illness and injury will only increase.”

Arizona Public Service, one of the state’s major utility companies, told The Center Square that they are aware of Hobbs’s message.

“I spoke with our team who informed me we received Governor Hobbs’ request and plan to provide a response to her office,” a spokesperson for APS said in an email.

Jennifer Schuricht, media manager for SRP, said the utility invests in its grid to ensure outages are minimal.

“SRP’s mission is to maintain reliable and affordable power for our customers, and we understand the significance of keeping customers in service during Arizona’s hot summer days,” she told The Center Square. “We value our customers’ safety and have programs in place to assist those in need.

“We welcome the open discussion with Governor Hobbs and look forward to sharing how we are ensuring grid reliability, providing customer assistance and increasing community support during this unprecedented heat wave.”

In a news release earlier this month, APS said that extreme heat preparedness is a standard part of how they operate.

“The summer is like our Super Bowl – we plan and practice for it year-round. We’re prepared for the potentially record-breaking stretch of 110+ degree days,” Justin Joiner, APS Vice President of Resource Management, said in the release. “Just like our crews prepare to stay safe during extreme temperatures, we encourage people to have a plan to stay safe. Stay hydrated and check on your neighbors and pets.”

Phoenix has hit a high of over 110 degrees for the past three weeks, and the lows have been over 90 degrees in recent days as well.

“We are now going on 4 months or 120 days without measurable rainfall at Phoenix Sky Harbor,” National Weather Service Phoenix tweeted Friday. “This is now the 6th longest stretch of dry weather since record keeping began. Hopefully our luck will change soon!”

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