Completing Maintenance in a Pandemic

Scheduled Overhaul Wraps Up at Arizona G&T Cooperatives’

Apache Generating Station, Pandemic or Not  

For Immediate Release

Contacts:

Geoff Oldfather, (520) 586-5465, C: (520) 444-3473, goldfather@azgt.coop

J.D. Wallace, (520) 586-5157, C: (520) 235-4203, jdwallace@azgt.coop

 

BENSON – Scheduled maintenance at the Arizona G&T Cooperatives (AzGT) power plant is moving forward despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheduled overhaul of Steam Units 2 and 3 at AzGT’s Apache Generating Station east of Benson involved draining and inspecting the circulation water system, which was completed on April 5. Following testing and other minor repairs, the units are expected to be back in service before summer, when demand for power in Arizona is greatest as temperatures reach their peak.

“It has been harder to get people and materials because of the pandemic,” said Nathan Hatch, generation engineering manager for AzGT. “Travel restrictions impact contractors who can get here, and supply chains are challenged.” Still, the work will be completed only a week or two later than expected, he said.

The planned overhaul was performed without interrupting power to AzGT’s six Member electric distribution cooperatives, which provide electric service to 420,000 people in Arizona, New Mexico and California. The maintenance assures system reliability in the future.

The work started before the coronavirus began to impact life in the U.S. But the overhaul had to continue because the units were already offline. “Performing this work now prevents a failure when the system is operating, which would demand more time that the units would be offline,” Hatch said.

Employees and contractors maintained social distancing throughout the process. “They have shown tremendous resilience and dedication,” Hatch said. “I continue to be impressed by the work ethic of our team.”

About Arizona G&T Cooperatives

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and Sierra Southwest (Sierra) together comprise the Arizona G&T Cooperatives (www.azgt.coop). AEPCO owns and operates the 605-megawatt (combined gross) Apache Generating Station, located at Cochise, east of Benson. AEPCO also owns, operates and maintains 829 miles of electric power transmission line—including line owned in part with other utilities— and 27 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California.

Sierra is the vehicle to develop new ways to serve the renewable energy needs of our Member cooperatives and customers, and helps maximize solar and other renewable tax credits that are available. Sierra has initiated two utility scale solar projects; the 20 MW Apache Solar project on AEPCO property adjacent to and northeast of AGS, and SunAnza, the 2 MW solar array adjacent to the Anza EC headquarters in Anza, California.

Combined, the distribution cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 161,000 meters representing more than 420,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial member/consumers.

The Class A member cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan; Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima; Mohave Electric Cooperative, Bullhead City; Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana; and our California member, Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza, California.

These member cooperatives own the AzGT and, by extension, the G&T Cooperatives are owned by their members—the people at the end of the line who use the power.