EL PASO, Texas -- The hot triple-digit temperatures in the Borderland are putting a strain not only on our bodies, but on the electrical grid that keeps the cool refrigerated air blowing in homes.
The temperature reached triple-digits for six consecutive days in early June. In that time frame, El Paso Electric said there were 240 power outages across its system - which affected 52,982 customers. Not all of the outages were caused by the heat. Other factors included mylar balloons, wildlife, and motor-vehicle accidents, but the summer months can cause problems.
“The high temperatures actually put a lot of strain on our grid. Of course, you know, we all crank up the A/C," said Alejandro Ayala, a distribution dispatch outage analyst for EPE.
When there are multiple days of intensive heat beating down on the electrical equipment, there is no time for it to cool down. That is when problems start occurring for transformers.
“Anything above 105 or 107, we have several transformers starting to blow at one time," explained Anthony Ramos, a distribution line crew supervisor for the utility company.
Ayala said the best way to help EPE keep the grid stable is to keep your thermostat at 78 degrees, and if you are out of the house for more than four hours, Ayala says the best idea is to shut the air conditioning down completely.
“Yes, it’s going to work a little bit harder when you get home, but at the end of the day it’s going to save your energy bill," Ayala said.
If you do experience a power outage, you can check the status of the problem on EPE's outage map here.