Knowing how harmful, or even deadly, extreme heat can be, the Arizona Corporation Commission last month approved tentative rules that would protect customers who haven’t paid their bills from having their electricity disconnected during periods of extreme heat or cold.
The draft rules, which were approved 3-2, added a temperature threshold of 95 degrees to the current calendar-based moratorium, which extends from June 1 to Oct. 15.
The emergency calendar-based shutoff ban was adopted in June 2019, following the heat-related death of an Arizona Public Service Co. customer whose power had been turned off for nonpayment.
Under the approved amendments offered by Commissioner Anna Tovar, electric utilities would be prohibited from shutting off electricity either when the temperature is above 95 degrees, or between June 1 and Oct. 15 each year.
The draft rules likely won’t be finalized until next year because the state wants to gather more information on its current moratorium, which will be in place from June 1 through Oct. 15.
Heat and health
When asked why this is such an important issue, Corporation Commissioner Anna Tovar, who proposed the tentative rules, told Food Safety News that heat is a serious threat to health.