Taking Steps to Enhance Employee Safety

Employees Are Tested, Line Crews Maintain Social Distancing, and Campus Maintenance Increases 

For Immediate Release

July 6, 2020


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 –Arizona G&T Cooperatives (AzGT) has initiated a number of changes recently in an effort to increase employee and visitor safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Free Testing: All employees were given the opportunity to receive free antibody testing to to see if an employee has had the virus. ARCpoint Laps of Tucson conducted on-site testing at AzGT’s Apache Generating Station as well as at the Benson campus, making results available to employees within minutes. In addition, employees who did not attend the on-site events could be tested for a set period at ARCpoint Labs in Tucson.  While individual results remained confidential, the lab shared overall results with AzGT so the cooperative could evaluate how the virus has affected its workforce and potential workforce immunity.

Line Crews Maintain Social Distancing: New procedures have been implemented to assure the safety of AzGT transmission line crews. This was on display recently north of Benson along Three-Links Road on the Apache-Hayden 115 kilovolt line. Here, a crew performed preventive maintenance, replacing two damaged transmission poles. Normally, repairs would involve one person driving one bucket truck, with two crew members in the bucket. This time, the crew used two trucks with one driver in each, and one crew member in each of the two buckets. This allowed personnel to keep at least six feet apart, diminishing the risk of spreading the virus.

Maintenance Increases at Benson Campus: Many of AzGT’s 200-plus employees are working from home to avoid contracting the virus from others in the workplace. With an average of just 25 personnel working at the cooperative’s Benson campus, facilities maintenance crews have moved into high gear, making strides in maintenance and improvements. They are replacing light fixtures and ceiling tiles, cleaning air ducts, and disinfecting areas. The office footprint of an AzGT trading partner, ACES West Regional Trading Center, is being renovated to provide more staff and conference space. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning units are receiving new filters at both the Benson headquarters and Apache Generating Station. Restroom doors are being renovated to allow for touchless access, and hand sanitizers are being placed at all entry/exit doors.

About Arizona G&T Cooperatives

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and Sierra Southwest Cooperative Services (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 841 miles of electric power transmission line—including line owned in part with other utilities— and 33 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California. The system includes more than 30 telecommunications towers used for phone and data relay services by AEPCO’s Member cooperatives and customers. From this network, our Member distribution electric cooperatives take the power and distribute it to their member-consumers at the end of the line.

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.