PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As the Valley braces for extreme heat starting this weekend, one of the big fears is power outages. An overworked power grid could lead to blackouts and no air conditioning in triple-digit heat. However, one expert tells Arizona's Family that our state is prepared.

"Your air conditioner is the largest user of electricity during the summer, so for every degree you can live warmer, you’ll save 2-3% on your energy costs," Donley said. Be sure to keep the temperature in your home consistent.

"There is something that will always challenge a grid. The extreme temperatures, it could be the monsoon, or it could even be wildfires," said Chris Hofmann, SRP director of transportation and operation.

Hofmann said SPR prepares all year for the extreme heat and doesn't expect any widespread power outages this summer. "We have proactively added additional generation into our portfolio, so that will help us out quite a bit," said Hofmann.

Data from a recent study out of the Georgia Institute of Technology found blackouts and electrical grid failures across the country spiked 60% compared to the previous five-year period. Researchers said heatwaves are increasing rapidly too. "The number of heatwaves, the duration of heatwaves, the timing and the season of heatwaves are starting earlier, and the intensity," said Brian Stone, Jr., Ph.D.

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Power in extreme heat

The study found that if there was an electrical grid failure during a heatwave in Phoenix, two-thirds of the population would be at risk of heat illness or death. But so far, Arizona seems to be holding up to the test. Summer 2020 had record-breaking heat without any widespread power outages. "We have to evolve to meet the growth, as well as the new changes in the climate, right? We have to be very proactive along those lines," said Hofmann. Hofmann said if Arizona were to experience a power grid failure, we could get power from surrounding states.


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