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​december 14, 2016
aps prepares for winter storms
a behind-the-scenes look at planning and 
preparation for the winter season
PHOENIX – The beauty of Arizona is in its unique and diverse climate. Although the greater Phoenix area is aptly called the Valley of the Sun, travel north a few hours to the high country and customers live, work and play in sometimes freezing temperatures and heavy snow. Providing reliable power across the state – no matter the time of year – is a privilege APS has had for more than a century.
The preparation and training that goes into ensuring APS first responders can restore power in the event of an interruption is part of everyday life at APS, whether the outage is caused by a snowstorm, foreign interference in electrical equipment or a car hitting a pole. As winter draws near, APS reviews the work that has been done in the off-season up north to ensure reliable power.
“Every year, we get eyes on our overhead power lines to check for things like aging equipment or vegetation near lines,” said Mike Cole, APS Director of Rural Arizona Energy Delivery. “We also train our crews and equip them with what they need to battle the elements and keep the lights on. Snow gear – like snow cleats and hand warmers – is ordered, and training takes place on vehicles such as snowcats that help our crews get to where potential problems might arise. We’re doing everything we need to do to respond more quickly and effectively to the electricity needs of our customers.”
About 60 percent of the APS transmission system runs through the forested areas of the state. Vegetation management is essential to ensuring reliable power – especially as tree limbs grow heavy from snow and potentially fall onto electrical equipment. APS forestry personnel work to clear tree limbs and brush around APS infrastructure all year. In addition, the company positions crews and equipment across the state so they can act fast during an outage.
“We manage the sixth largest service territory in the nation – 35,000 square miles and 1.2 million customers,” Cole said. “Preparing for the intense heat in the valley prior to summer and the snow and freezing temperatures up north prior to winter is vital to this work. We want everyone to have a happy holiday and a great start to their 2017. They can bundle up with their families and enjoy the season; we’ll do the rest.”
APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is the Southwest’s foremost producer of clean, safe and reliable electricity. Using a balanced energy mix that is nearly 50 percent carbon-free, APS has one of the country’s most substantial renewable energy portfolios, and owns and operates the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the country’s top power producer and largest producer of carbon-free energy. The company is also a proven leader in introducing technology and services that offer customers choice and control over their energy consumption. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).​​​
“We also train our crews and equip them with what they need to battle the elements and keep the lights on."
- Mike Cole, APS Director of Rural Arizona Energy Development