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Trico Awards $35,000 in POWER Grants to Local Nonprofits

In June, five non-profit organizations received a total of $35,000 in grants from the Trico Electric Charitable Trust, which is funded through Operation Round Up. The grants are part of Trico’s POWER Grants program and are awarded twice a year to charities throughout southern Arizona.

Receiving grants of $9,000 each were the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (Amado) and Sahuarita Food Bank & Community Resource Center. Receiving a grant of $8,000 was Borderlands Produce Rescue. Arivaca Fire District Auxiliary received a $7,000 grant. Receiving a $2,000 grant was Mt. Lemmon Firefighters Foundation.

“We’re grateful to receive a Trico POWER Grant to be given to the Arivaca Fire District to purchase new fire hoses. With this grant, we will have enough hose to be able to work a fire and then put the trucks back in service immediately,” said Fire Chief Tangye Beckham.

Since 2008, the POWER Grant program has awarded $805,000 in grants. Learn more a

“As a cooperative, Trico is dedicated to serving its Members and our community. We have been a part of these communities for over 75 years, and our POWER Grants program is one of the many ways we help to make a positive difference,” said Brian Heithoff, Trico CEO/General Manager.

The Trico Electric Charitable Trust is funded through Operation Round Up (ORU), a program that allows Members to round up their electric bill to the next whole dollar. Those extra cents are used to assist community organizations, schools, veteran’s groups, first responders, and food banks. For more information, visit

Trico helps bring power to the Navajo Nation

Concern for Community and Cooperation Among Cooperatives are two of seven principles that cooperatives like Trico pursue. In June, Trico employees Bryan English, Joe Tsethlikai, Tyler Hornung and Conor Garcia spent a week in Chinle, Ariz. – near Canyon de Chelly National Monument – to bring power to the community as part of the Light Up Navajo program.

Trico is the first cooperative in the state of Arizona to participate in the mutual-aid program that began in 2019 to extend electricity to homes without power. According to the American Public Power Association, of the approximately 55,000 homes on the Navajo Nation, nearly 14,000 still do not have electricity. They represent 75% of all U.S. households without power.

Tsethlikai, who is a descendant of the Zuni people, said it is unthinkable that in 2023 there are people in the United States without electricity.

“Being half-native, I’m glad I got the opportunity to help them,” he said. “They need all the help they can get. It’s going to be a long process. At the rate they’re going, it will take 30 years for everyone to get power. Until they have electricity, they don’t have access to basic necessities that we take for granted, such as water, ice to keep their food cold, telephones, internet, or indoor plumbing.”

The working conditions in Chinle weren’t great. The temperature was in the 90s. The wind was 40-50 miles per hour. The elevation is around 7,000 feet.

“It was a wonderful experience,” said Tsethlikai, a Journeyman Lineman at Trico for 16 years. “It was a lot of work, but it was rewarding. After meeting the people and seeing what a life-changing experience it is for them, it was all worth it. It was an eye opener for me. My family on the (Zuni) reservation has electricity and water. It was sad, but I was happy to be there. I don’t look at it as charity. It’s the right thing to do.”

It was a great learning experience for Hornung and Garcia, who are apprentice linemen. All four men said they wished they could have done more. During their week in Chinle, they installed four meters. There was also a crew from Alabama working in another part of town.

“I hope more utilities continue to help,” said English, who has been a Journeyman Lineman at Trico for eight years. “It was a good experience. I wish we could have done more. Maybe next year we can stay longer.”

New Electric Vehicle Time-of-Use Rate

Trico is proud to offer a new voluntary Electric Vehicle Time-of-Use Rate (EV TOU Rate) for eligible Trico Members who own electric vehicles (EVs). This rate is designed to help meet the growing demand for EVs among Trico Members, reduce strain on the system during peak hours, and lower costs for Trico’s overall membership.

Trico Members who sign up for the EV TOU Rate will receive a 45 percent rate reduction when charging their EVs between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. up to 400 kWh of energy. This experimental rate is available to the first 1,000 Trico Members who sign up. By offering this rate, Trico will be better able to understand Members’ EV usage and determine how many EVs are in Trico’s service area. This information will then help develop future EV programs at Trico as we work to better serve EV demand and Members’ needs.

As a not-for-profit cooperative, Trico’s focus is on meeting the needs of all Members and putting Members’ interests first. By encouraging Members with EVs to charge during non-peak hours when energy supplies are high and costs are low, Trico can control costs and efficiently use the entire system, which benefits all Members, even those who do not own EVs.

“EVs offer a significant opportunity for electric cooperatives, and Trico has been planning for an increase in EV adoption. Trico is committed to providing its Members with sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions, and that means our EV strategy starts with our Members,” said Brian Heithoff, Trico CEO and General Manager.

To learn more about the EV TOU Rate and for additional EV information, visit

CEO Column: Monsoon storm safety

Last month, I talked about monsoon storms and how Trico works year-round to ensure you continue receiving reliable power. As the monsoon season rolls in with its powerful storms and heavy rains, it’s essential to prioritize safety and be prepared for potential hazards.

Our safety motto at Trico is Safety Matters and Concern for Community is a principle we live by every day. Trico has an employee Safety Committee that meets every month to discuss safety topics and develop programs to help protect employees, our Members, and the communities we serve. This month the Safety Committee suggested that we remind Members of the dangers of downed power lines and provide storm safety advice to help our Members and their families avoid risks.

To ensure your well-being and that of others, it is crucial to understand the dangers associated with downed power lines and learn how to avoid them.

Here are some essential tips to stay safe during monsoon storms and protect yourself from downed power lines.

  • Make sure to fully charge all cellphones, laptops and devices so you have maximum power in the event of a power outage. Set aside basic household items you will need, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener and portable, battery-powered radio or TV.
  • In the event of an outage, turn off appliances, TVs, computers and other sensitive electronics. This will help avert damage from a power surge and will also help prevent overloading the circuits during power restoration. Keep one light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • During thunderstorms, avoid electrical equipment and land-based telephones. Keep away from windows.
  • After the storm, avoid downed power lines and walking through flooded areas where power lines could be submerged. Power lines could be submerged and still live with electricity. Report any downed lines you see to Trico by calling 520-744-2944 immediately. Allow ample room for our crews to safely perform their jobs – including on your property.

Stay informed by signing up for Trico’s Outage Notifications through our SmartHub app or on our website at You can report an outage from SmartHub or by texting “OUT” to 855-937-1858.

You have the power to save money and energy in your own home this summer

Summer means hotter temperatures. We expect the energy market in the West to be tight. There may be times when we ask our Members to voluntarily conserve electricity during peak times – 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This is not meant to be a hardship. Energy conservation can be as simple as turning off lights or appliances when you do not need them.

Here are ways you can conserve energy:

  • Take advantage of air circulation from ceiling fans. Circulating the air in a room can make a major difference in comfort while limiting energy use. In the summer, use the switch on your fan to rotate the blades counterclockwise and push cool air down.
  • Run large appliances such as the washer, dryer and dishwasher after 8 p.m. or early in the morning. Running these appliances at cooler hours saves the air conditioning from working as hard. Wash clothes with cold water, which can cut one load’s energy use by more than half.
  • Keep window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat. Consider adding solar screens or window tinting.
  • Improve/replace weather stripping around doors and windows. A combination of proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, shading, and ventilation will usually keep homes cool with a minimum of energy use.
  • Turn off lights and unplug unused appliances, such as coffee makers, game consoles, cellphone chargers and TVs – which still draw some power while turned off or in standby mode.
  • The less water you use, the less energy you use. Check your toilet for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the color appears in the bowl without flushing, your toilet has a leak. Also, fix leaky showerheads and faucets. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year. Faucet and shower aerators are inexpensive devices that reduce the amount of water flow.
  • Replace old appliances with new energy efficient appliances. If your refrigerator or dishwasher is more than 10 years old, the money you can save on energy use for a new appliance could pay for itself in just a few years.

With just a few small changes, you can relax in comfort this summer while saving money. For more energy saving tips, visit

Preparing for Summer & Monsoons

Providing year-round reliable power to our Members is a top priority for Trico, and we are constantly working to improve and serve you better. One way that we strive to improve is by devoting a lot of time to planning and preparing for the things we can expect and the unexpected.

In Southern Arizona it is a safe bet that summer will be hot, and we work hard to plan and prepare for summer power needs years in advance. Monsoons are more difficult to predict. We know they will come, but we don’t know where the strongest winds, heaviest rain, or most intense lightning will strike. With summer storm season upon us, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a few measures we are taking to ensure you continue receiving the reliable power you depend on.

Every year Trico’s employees work together to plan for summer storms and that includes a meeting that brings together every department to confirm everyone knows their role. We discuss how we will respond to storm damage, how we will communicate with Members, what materials and supplies we will need for the summer, and how to keep our employees and Members safe. Every year we try to learn from the prior year and get better.

The result is, Trico is ready for storm season. If we experience any power outages or damage to the system, our crews will be ready to make repairs as soon as conditions are safe, our warehouse will be ready to provide the materials needed, and our communications team will be ready to get the latest news out to Members.

Even with the challenge of continued supply chain shortages, Trico has a stock of poles, transformers, and other equipment, and we have coordinated with suppliers in case we need additional materials. We may not know exactly where Monsoons will hit, but we track detailed weather forecasts, and use the information we do have to be prepared.

We also encourage our Members to be prepared for summer storms, with information on social media, our website, the LiveWire, and at community meetings. Here are a few storm safety tips to help you prepare:

  • If you experience a power outage, remember to check our outage map at
  • for the latest updates.
  • High winds may bring power lines down. If you encounter downed lines while driving, turn around. Lines may still be energized. Never drive near or over them.
  • Heavy storms and rainfall have the potential to create flash floods. If you encounter standing water while driving, turn around and find a safer route.
  • Make sure your cellphone, devices, and portable power banks are charged and ready to go.

Stay informed by following us on social media at, and

Green Valley Substation Rebuild

It took a team effort to rebuild the Green Valley Substation

Built in 1973, the Green Valley Substation (Green Valley Sub) needed an upgrade. So, in May 2022, Trico hired the firm TOR Engineering to come up with a plan for the rebuilding of the Green Valley Sub.

“Given the age of the substation, its limitations and the fact that we just finished rebuilding the 69 kV transmission line from the Bicknell Substation to Green Valley, it made sense to rebuild it,” said Roger Patnode, the Project Lead.

A decision was made to rebuild the whole substation.

“Starting with the Three Points Substation, we came up with a standard way of designing the 25 kV side of the substations,” Patnode said. “We’re using the same design for the new Adonis Substation and when we rebuild the Marana Substation.”

Like the SaddleBrooke Substation, Trico controls the 69 kV transmission line into the Green Valley Sub. At our other substations, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Association (AEPCO) handles the 69 kV transmission line.

“At Green Valley, we designed the 69 kV side with a ring bus,” he said. “It provides us with more flexibility for expansion in the future.”

A ring bus configuration is an extension of the sectionalized bus arrangement and is accomplished by interconnecting the two open ends of the buses through another sectionalizing breaker. This results in a closed loop or ring with each bus section protected by a circuit breaker.

The rebuild was done in two phases. In July 2022, Trico started rebuilding the 25 kV side of the substation, south of the existing substation. The Green Valley Sub remained energized during this phase. In November 2022, the old substation was deenergized and demolished and the new 69 kV side was built during this phase.

“We picked up the Green Valley Sub circuits from Bicknell,” Patnode said. “We were able do it because loads are low in the winter.”

The Green Valley Sub was reenergized by May 2, 2023, just in time for summer. Patnode said a lot of work from different departments went into the rebuilding of the Green Valley Sub.

“It was a joint effort,” he said. “It starts with engineering. Then procurement – acquiring the needed equipment and materials. Operations and the Substation and Meter Technicians were also involved in the project. Kudos to everybody who worked on the project.”

Patnode said the two new 20 MVA transformers should last at least 30 years.

“The original transformer was 50 years old and still working when it was retired,” he said.

Batteries are now operational at Avion Solar

The Avion Solar Facility has been providing Trico with clean energy since 2018, and now we have added battery energy storage to the system.

On May 9, 2023, Trico held a ribbon‑cutting ceremony at Avion, attended by representatives from the Town of Marana, the Marana Chamber of Commerce, Torch Clean Energy and Solv Energy. The Town of Marana Mayor Ed Honea, Sarah Born from Torch and Trico CEO & GM Brian Heithoff gave speeches about the battery energy storage system and what it means to Trico’s Members and the Town of Marana.

“It’s an honor to be here and see how innovative Trico is with what they do in the community,” Mayor Honea said. “The batteries are really important because they provide service for us in times of emergency.”

The annual energy output of the Avion solar system is over 30,000 MWh per year, which is enough to power approximately 3,000 average residential homes. The 15 MW/30 MWh battery system matches the Chirreon Solar and Battery Storage Facility. The batteries can power about 4,000 homes for two hours.

“This will not only help us to provide some resilience but more importantly help us to save money when we discharge the battery over the most expensive part of the day so just another way Trico is looking out for its Members’ best interest,” Eric Hawkins said.

“The cornerstone of our plan is to have a balanced portfolio, so we intend to invest more in battery and solar while continuing to work with our partners to invest in new efficient natural gas technology,” Mr. Heithoff said. “The whole portfolio we put together is working together to ensure that we provide reliable service to our Members.

“(Avion) is tied for the largest battery installation of any cooperative in Arizona, and we are tied with ourselves for the Chirreon and Avion Solar sites. We are proud of that.”

Avion Solar & Battery Facts

Here are some facts about the project:

Solar Commissioned: December 14, 2018

System: 10 MW Single-axis tracking

Number of panels: 40,716 solar photovoltaic modules

Annual energy output: Over 30,000 MWh annually, which is enough to power approximately 3,000 average residential homes.

Battery System: 15 MW/30 MWh. The batteries can power about 4,000 homes for two hours.

Renewable Energy: About 33 percent of Trico’s retail sales come from renewable resources.

Cross-country journey in Ford Lightning electric truck was great learning experience for Trico

By Rylee Schull

In March 2023, Trico employees Sabrina and Bryan English, an IT Specialist and a Journeyman Lineman respectively, embarked on a 3,852-mile round trip from Trico to Nashville, Tennessee, and back in a Ford Lightning F-150 all-electric truck.

Sabrina and Bryan went to Nashville for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) PowerXchange and TechAdvantage conferences. They made stops at electric cooperatives along the way, including Columbus Electric Co-op in New Mexico. On the way back, they stopped at First Electric Cooperative in Jacksonville, Arkansas. "They were so welcoming, and we appreciated them letting us charge the Lightning," Sabrina said.

While at a charger, they met an employee from Craighead Electric Cooperative in Arkansas who was also heading to the PowerXchange conference and driving a Ford Lightning. It’s always a happy coincidence to meet with our co-op family.

"After this experience, we both agreed we would travel with an electric vehicle again like this," Sabrina said. "Charging times allowed us to take breaks, get our steps in, shop, and most importantly save money and the environment by not buying gas and reducing our carbon footprint. Chargers were easily accessible and available at frequent stops across our route. We only had one issue with a charger, but after calling Electrify America (an EV public charging network across the U.S.) they were able to fix the problem quickly and get us on our way."

The journey took a total of 78 hours, including stops and charging time, which was faster than expected due to the efficiency of the

350 kW chargers. Despite the freezing temperatures impacting range, with 221 miles at 90% charge compared to 273 miles, the average charge times were only 35 minutes. The total charging cost of $385 was roughly a third of what they would have paid for gas. Overall, the trip was a success and highlighted the potential for all-electric trucks to handle long-distance travel.

Trico is proud to continue meeting the needs of our Members, including learning more about EVs and providing upcoming rates/options for our Members with EVs.

To look back at Sabrina and Bryan’s journey, visit Trico’s Facebook page at or Instagram at

Answers to your questions

Our Members had questions about the trip. Here are the answers to those questions.

Where do you find charging stations?

There are a few ways to find charging stations, but here are the top two options Sabrina and Bryan used:

1) Electrify America is a great option that you can use to map out your entire route. It will show you where all their chargers are located, and typically they have quick chargers available!

2) Many EVs have built in navigation that can help route you to chargers to make sure you won’t run out of power before getting to the next station.

Does the weather affect the mileage?

The freezing temperatures did impact range, with 221 miles at 90% charge compared to 273 miles.

Outside temperatures, particularly colder weather, can impact the range of an EV. Unlike a gas-powered vehicle, where the heat is mostly coming from the engine, an EV must produce cabin heat and manage an optimal battery temperature with energy that comes from the battery, which can reduce battery range.

Are electric vehicles reliable for road trips?

You can make a long road trip without fear of getting stranded, as long as you plan ahead. That means juggling route-planning apps and billing accounts with various charging companies, which can get confusing. And be prepared for the unexpected, like glitchy charging equipment touchscreens, billing questions and inoperable plugs.

How far can you travel in an electric vehicle?

Many of today's EVs have a range well over 100 miles per charge, with some models reaching more than 300 miles per charge.

ACC Approves AEPCO Natural Gas Units

ACC Approves AEPCO Natural Gas Units

October 12, 2022

Trico Electric Cooperative is pleased by the decision of the Arizona Corporation Commission, approving Arizona Electric Power Cooperative’s (AEPCO) financing application for efficient, fast-ramping natural gas units at AEPCO’s existing Apache Generating Station. Trico has partnered with AEPCO to buy power from these units, and the decision will help Trico in its mission to provide sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions to our Members.  

Trico has set a goal of reducing its emissions by 50% by 2032, and we will achieve that goal by significantly increasing our solar generation resources. Trico recently commissioned our Chirreon Solar and Battery Facility (Chirreon) in Pinal County.  With Chirreon, our existing Avion Solar Facility near the Marana Airport, our SunFarm at our headquarters in Marana, and our portion of the Apache Solar Facility, we have over 25MW of solar generation capacity.  Trico also has 15MW of battery resources (at Chirreon) and expects to add another 25MW of battery capacity in 2023.  In the coming months, we expect to announce additional projects that will significantly expand our solar and battery resources.  

The newly approved gas units are vital to support this expansion of solar resources because they provide fast-ramping, all-hours reliability. Maintaining a diverse set of generation resources helps Trico maintain reliability, meet its emissions reductions goals, and keep costs down. These newly approved units are cost-effective, more efficient, and even have the ability to operate using green hydrogen as fuel, in the future.

We appreciate the work of AEPCO’s team and thank the Arizona Corporation Commission for supporting Arizona’s electric cooperatives. As always, Trico is dedicated to serving our Members with sustainable, reliable, and cost-effective energy solutions.


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Power Cost Adjustor Increase Beginning October 2022

Power Cost Adjustor Increase Beginning October 2022

October 10, 2022

Over the last year we have all seen the effect of inflation on food, consumer products, and gasoline. There have also been increases in the cost of natural gas and even coal, during that same time-period. In addition to our growing renewable generation resources, Trico purchases power that is fueled by coal and natural gas. These increased fuel costs have increased the price of power needed to serve Trico’s Members’ load.

Built into Trico’s rates is a Wholesale Power Cost Adjustor (PCA), which allows for increases or decreases in power costs to be “flowed” into Trico’s rates.  When power prices are low, Trico can offer a credit to its Members. When power prices rise, sometimes it becomes necessary to add a charge.  Since 2017, low fuel prices have allowed Trico to approve almost $22 million in credits to be returned to its Members through the PCA.

As a result of the increased fuel costs experienced throughout the industry, Trico is now instituting a charge. Each month the Management and Board will review fuel cost projections, consider the impacts on Trico’s finances, and determine how to best adjust the PCA. 

As a non-profit cooperative, our mission is providing cost-effective energy solutions, and with that in mind Trico has identified three principles to guide this process:

  1. Minimize cost impacts on Members​
  2. Avoid large PCA variations month-to-month​
  3. Treat residential and commercial Members equitably​

We also continue to take active steps to minimize fuel costs and keep prices low. For example, we “hedge” (purchase gas ahead of time at predictable prices) our natural gas purchases to control the cost and risk, and we sell excess power to produce revenue that reduces the amount we charge our Members.

We do expect that a PCA charge will be necessary for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023, but this will be reexamined each month with the above principles in mind. You can see the PCA on your monthly bill under the sections titled “Current Service Detail.” If you have questions, please contact us.


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Let’s stay connected

Has your phone number, address or email changed recently?

Please take a minute to update your contact information on SmartHub at, call us at (520) 744‑2944 or email us at

Accurate information enables us to improve member service and enhance communications for reporting and repairing outages. Up-to-date contact information can potentially speed up the power restoration process during an outage. For example, the phone number you provide is linked to your service address in our outage management system. This means when you call to report an outage, our system recognizes your phone number and matches it with your account location. Accurate information helps our outage management system predict the location and possible cause of an outage, making it easier for our crews to correct the problem.

We will never share your information with any third parties.

Log in to your online account — from our website or the SmartHub mobile app — and verify your contact information (including your email address). Haven’t set up your online account yet? Click here to create a SmartHub account.