Mesa Asks Citizens To Conserve Electricity Amid Concerns Over Energy Supply

By Jimmy Jenkins
Published: Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 6:21pm
Updated: Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 7:30am

Mesa is urging residents to conserve electricity as prices soar and energy reserves are diminishing. 

The city of Mesa operates its own electric utility that serves about 18,000 residential, commercial and light industrial customers in the downtown area.

Frank McRae is the city’s director of the Energy Resources Department. He said the power supply markets are tightening to a point they had projected wouldn’t happen until 2023.

"There’s typically an amount of supply that exceeds demand amongst the utilities and the power providers in the western regional markets," he said. "That margin, or what we call reserve margin, has diminished significantly over the last several years." So as a result, energy prices have spiked.

Mesa is asking customers to conserve energy consumption from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., because energy costs for the city for that time period have increased tenfold over the past year.

McRae did not rule out the possibility that Arizona could experience widespread power outages, like those experienced in Texas in the spring.

“There’s more similarities with what happened in Texas this February, than there are differences," he said. "If a major electric generating station were to trip offline, or a wildland fire caused the utilities to shut down those high voltage transmission lines that go from remote electric generating stations into the major metropolitan areas — any one of those events could trigger something like the need to go to a rolling black out."

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