Monsoon storm and outage safety
The official monsoon season in greater Phoenix begins June 15 and ends September 30. Actual storms typically begin in the first half of July, bringing lightning, heavy rain and high winds that can snap utility poles and power lines.
Because the weather in the Phoenix area is so stable for much of the year, summer storms can take people by surprise. Below are links to safety tips and suggestions to help you and your family deal with the wind, rain and lightning that can result from a storm.
Here are some links to additional helpful information:
- Staying safe outdoors in a storm
- How to prepare for a power outage
- Outage map and reporting
- Lightning safety
- Frequently asked questions
- Check local radar on azcentral.com
What to do during an outage
You might want to print this page and keep it handy near a flashlight during storm season so you'll know what to do if the power goes out.
- Stay calm. Refer to your preparedness plan, if you have one. If not, review this list of suggestions on how to prepare for a power outage.
- Go online. You can use your mobile device to check our online outage map and see what geographic areas are affected by the power outage. You can also monitor SRP's Facebook page or Twitter for the latest outage updates. You do not need to be a Facebook or Twitter member to view the updates.
- Report the outage. You can either log in to My Account to report online or call SRP's automated Residential Customer Services,(602) 236-8888. Be sure to enter your account number (located on the top left portion of your bill) so that we'll know where the power outage is.
- Outage eNotes: Sign up to receive outage alerts sent straight to your email or mobile device.
- Radio updates: If you have a battery-powered radio, tune in for news updates about the storm. In metropolitan Phoenix, the three local primary Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio stations are KFYI AM 550, KTAR AM 620 and KJZZ FM 91.5. Most stations participate in the EAS, and should repeat messages originated on the three primary stations or by the National Weather Service.
- Appliances: Turn off all major appliances, including your computer, air conditioner, TV and other media equipment and dishwasher. This will help SRP restore power more quickly while protecting your equipment from voltage fluctuations and circuit overloads when power returns.
- Lights: Turn off all lights except one to indicate when the power has been restored. When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on lights and appliances — turn them on one at a time.
- Circuit breakers: Reset circuit breakers to see if the problem is a short-circuit in your home's electrical system. If other homes in your neighborhood are dark, the problem is likely a power outage. Check for "blown" fuses or make sure your circuit breakers are in the "on" position. Also check the main breaker; turn off and then turn on to reset the main breaker.
- Doors and windows: Avoid opening entry doors, to keep cool air inside and warmer air outside.
- Neighbors: Check on your neighbors, especially elderly and/or disabled persons.
- Pets: During a storm, pets can become frightened and may try to escape through an open door or window. Therefore, it is best to confine them in a room until the storm passes.
- Refrigerator and freezer: Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to conserve the cool air inside. During an extended power outage, use perishable food and foods from the refrigerator first. Then use the foods from the freezer. Use non-perishable foods last.
Protect your home electronics
Electricity from lightning can travel through the wires in your home and damage important home office equipment. If you experience a complete or partial power outage during a monsoon, take the following steps:
- During a storm, it's best to unplug any equipment that does not need to be on, including telephones and cable television cables, but especially the air conditioner or heat pump, computers and copy machines. This will protect the machines from voltage fluctuations and help avoid circuit overloads when the power returns.
- Make sure your office equipment is properly grounded. Power disturbances can affect computers and other microprocessor-based equipment that depend on a constant voltage supply. An improper ground can cause your equipment to malfunction or fail.
- Be sure to wait at least one minute after the power has been restored before turning the equipment back on.
What SRP is doing
SRP continues to take a number of steps to reduce the number and length of power outages associated with monsoon storms – beginning with a preventative-maintenance program. Some examples:
- Tree-trimming program: Many power outages occur during monsoon storms after trees come in contact with above-ground electric lines. To help prevent these incidents, SRP is actively identifying and trimming trees that are too close to both its transmission and distribution power lines. Customers can eliminate the danger of trees growing into power lines by selecting and planting the right type of tree in the right location. Read more about SRP's tree and power line maintenance policy or customers can call (602) 236-8888.
- Evaluating and replacing underground cable:. Much of the electric system that serves SRP's customers is buried underground. However, the underground cable can be affected by monsoon rain and lightning. SRP has a significant ongoing effort to replace older cable that is susceptible to inclement weather.
- Diagnostic testing:. SRP also has a program to test electric-system equipment with a process called Infrared Thermographic Inspection. This technology helps SRP detect problems in its electrical equipment before they occur. Regular ultrasonic and visual inspections of electric-system equipment are also helping to identify problems before they result in customer outages.
- Improved weather forecasting: Because severe weather can result in scattered power outages, SRP relies heavily on its own staff of meteorologists to help predict storm activity. SRP uses weather satellite image loops, the Lightning Detection Network and Doppler weather radar displays to forecast potentially damaging weather. This information allows SRP to respond more quickly to storm damage by placing its maintenance crews on alert in areas where heavy storm activity is likely to occur.