Hobbs Plans To Meet With Utility Companies To Address Heatwave

August 11, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona’s Democrat Governor is moving ahead with her plans to talk to the state’s utility companies to address the heatwave. This week, Governor Katie Hobbs announced that she had “scheduled a roundtable meeting with utility company leadership for August 18.”

Hobbs plans to use the event to “highlight her administration’s efforts to protect Arizonans during the historic heat wave and discuss actions utilities can take to address future challenges.”

In a statement, Hobbs said, “Extreme heat can be devastating when not properly addressed. That’s why I’m taking action to provide relief through additional resources and collaborating with utilities, local organizations, cities, and county officials. Together, we will keep Arizonans safe through this historic heat wave and ensure our state is prepared for future emergencies.”The governor also revealed that her Office would “provide $50,000 to Valley Interfaith Network for staffing, water, and expanded cooling center service throughout Arizona.”

Hobbs’ announcement followed a controversial letter sent to Arizona utility companies at the end of last month, in which she asked for “written plans outlining how they will protect Arizonans during this devastating heat wave.”

The governor directed the utility companies to focus their plans on the areas of Disconnects, Grid Security, Emergency Response, Customers in Arrears, and Community Service.

Republicans and Democrats largely broke to partisan corners with their responses to the governor’s efforts on this front. Phoenix Councilwoman Laura Pastor tweeted, “Phoenix has been experiencing a historically hot summer – if a statewide or even citywide power outage were to happen, lives would be lost. We need to know what to do during that situation and how we can help our residents. Governor Hobbs is asking the right questions.”

The Arizona Democratic Party also weighed in, posting, “As Arizona faces a historically hot summer, Democrats are delivering real relief! Thank you Governor Hobbs.”

Republican Representative Matthew Gress took an opposing view to the governor’s announcement, writing, “Governor, you *do* know the utilities already submitted those plans and briefed the Commission…back in April…right? And you do realize the excessive heat warning has been in effect for nearly a month? We’ve hit new records for several weeks now? Every time, our utilities performed flawlessly. But really glad you weighed in weeks after the heat wave started! You’re really on top of things.”

Representative Joseph Chaplik added, “Another example of an unqualified Hobbs Governor/CEO of AZ. As Gov, you should have already known all this from communicating with APS and SRP over the last 9 months with preparation for the summer. We all know we get hot in the desert during July. No need to publicize your late demands. You should be thanking them for being prepared.”

Long-time Arizona journalist Howie Fischer pointed out that the governor’s request to state utility companies was “not within her constitutional duties (but was) the role of the Arizona Corporation Commission.”

Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope agreed with Fischer, tweeting, “Correct, it’s not within Governor Hobbs constitutional duties. Perhaps her interns oughta watch one of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee hearings that Senator Sine Kerr chairs so she can learn about energy plans and how the utilities plan for summer.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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