Cave Creek awarded $9,163 for reducing energy

CAVE CREEK — The Town of Cave Creek was awarded $9,163 by Arizona Public Service (APS) for its participation in the 2019 Peak Solutions Demand Response Program, according to a town press release.

Joel Fisher, a representative from APS, presented Mayor Ernie Bunch with the check at the March 2 Town Council meeting. Since 2012, the town has earned more than $100,000 in rebates for participating in the APS Demand Response Program.

The program takes place in the summer when electricity demands are at its highest. Essentially, APS pays high-volume customers to reduce their non-essential electricity loads during peak demand events in exchange for financial compensation, the press release said.

The 2019 funds were awarded from Cave Creek’s participation during a peak demand test that occurred on July 12, and lasted from 2 to 6 p.m. The Cave Creek Utilities Department was able to decrease the number of pumps running at the water treatment plant, reducing the electricity load on the grid, the press release said.

Chris Gunderson, the Cave Creek water treatment plant supervisor explained that the utilities department has several options in assisting APS in decreasing electricity loads. It can either temporarily shut down CAP booster stations, temporarily shut down the water treatment plant or reduce the number of pumps running at either the Cave Creek or Desert Hills water systems.

The delivery and treatment of water is energy-intensive, the press release said. Often, Cave Creek’s peak water demands happen during the driest, hottest summer days, which typically coincides with peak electricity demands. These factors can make it difficult to make adjustments to the town’s water systems in order to reduce electricity during peak demand events.

“We will never adversely affect our customers, so when APS declares these event tests, we will not take action unless we can reliably provide water to our customers,” Gunderson said.