Salt River Project prepares businesses for monsoon season

TEMPE – If the power goes out in your home, it’s frustrating. But if a business loses power, it can have major consequences.

For the past five years, the Salt River Project trained businesses to prepare for power outages, especially during Arizona’s monsoon season, which officially kicked off June 15. The utility held some of those trainings this month.

Courtney Jones, a cost schedule and power production analyst at SRP, said the goal is for businesses to make a plan.

“Being prepared allows you to react – to basically have a plan of action so that you help not only yourself but those around you in the event of an outage,” she said.

Beyond the plans, the SRP classes cover such topics as backup power sources, overviews of electrical systems and the process of restoring power.

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Vanessa Van Wyk, president of Phoenix-based Velmar Food Services and Arizona Gold, said power outage preparedness is crucial for businesses such as hers. Her companies prepare and distribute food – from tortillas to chiles – to restaurants, delis, schools and health care facilities, according to its site.

“If the power goes out, we will lose all of our finished product as well as our raw materials,” Van Wyk said. “That means we can’t service our customers and, until the power is back up, that also means we can’t continue to offer our employees employment.”

Ashton Byrd, director of research and development at Gen-Tech, a Glendale company that sells and services emergency generators, noted there’s a big difference between actual preparation and playing it by ear.

“Learning on the fly is not a plan. You really have to be ready,” Byrd said. “You really have to go through and literally unplug a piece of equipment. How does it impact you?”

Byrd doesn’t think it’s enough to familiarize yourself with machinery and processes once. Repetition is important.

“Being prepared requires review – going back over,” he said. “What seems basic a year later may not be fresh on your mind, so it’s very important to continue to educate yourself.”

SRP recommends signing up for outage alerts online or through its app. Maricopa County also offers a app to help prepare, plan and respond to disasters that affect the immediate vicinity.

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