This year’s monsoon was one of the most powerful ever; 811 power poles replaced, APS says

(Courtesy: APS)
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 10:59 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona Public Service says this past year’s monsoon is “one for the record books,” after the utility provider says that it dealt with a record number of downed power lines along with tens of dozens of weather emergencies throughout the summer.

National Weather Service records show that many parts of the state experienced up to twice the usual amount of rainfall. While Phoenix Sky Harbor itself reported below-average rainfall, some communities got drenched. In Apache Junction, meters there recorded 8.71″ and those historic rainfalls in the Globe-Miami area, which recorded 7.94″ for the season, led to devastating flooding.

APS officials say they replaced a record 811 power poles, basically seven miles worth of poles if workers arranged them from end-to-end. That’s nearly three times more than the utility provider replaces in a typical season, which averages about 290 poles during four months from May through September. During one week in July, it worked around the clock to replace 400 poles alone.

“While extreme weather challenged the APS electric grid in a significant way, our extensive planning and investment to strengthen the system helped minimize disruptions to our customers during even the most powerful storms. When severe weather did knock out power, our dedicated crews worked day and night in rainy, hot, humid, muddy conditions to repair damage from high winds and lightning,” said Tony Tewelis, Vice President of Transmission & Distribution.

So what did APS do to keep the lights running despite the intense storms? This year, APS hired a meteorologist to help forecast weather conditions to help employees prepare for potential impacts to service equipment. After all, the provider services more than 1.3 million households and businesses in 11 of Arizona’s counties. So they say it’s essential to learn how to improve strategies and operational plans to prepare for storm seasons.

Earlier this month, the Salt River Project reported that the 2022 monsoon knocked down the most SRP power poles in over 20 years.