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SRP says it's prepared for demand amid Phoenix's scorching heat

Even as extreme summer heat continues in the Phoenix area, one of the Valley's major electrical providers says it is prepared to meet demand. 

This time last year, Salt River Project reached its highest electrical output ever. In anticipation of even higher demand this summer, the utility installed two new natural gas turbines at its Agua Fria plant in Glendale.

Pam Syrjala, SRP director of supply, trading and fuels, told KJZZ News those are specifically for when the system sees peak use.

“If something were to happen to another generating unit in the system, we can go to these peaking turbines and turn them on. They’re on within 10 minutes and can be up to full output at that time,” Syrjala said. 

That compares with some of SRP’s more traditional gas turbines that can take more than 12 hours to get online.

Syrjala said SRP has also invested in more backup battery storage. And it has incentive programs to ask customers to conserve when high demand is anticipated.

Syrjala said storms are the most likely cause of summer power outages. But part of the reason it is so hot right now is that there’s been so little monsoon moisture.

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.