Electric companies in Cochise County are working together to bring new equipment to the area to help keep lights on.

Arizona G&T and Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) are asking the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to approve the financing for new turbines.

The generators currently on ground at APCO now were built in 1961,” SSVEC CEO Jason Bowling said. “Its its high time we get some new units out there that are more efficient so we use less gas to generate the electricity our members need.

The new generators will serve as a back up to the solar panels SSVEC already has, to ensure power is available. Bowling said the current back up system takes hours to power on, while the new system turns on in minutes.

Trading in older units for newer, more efficient units will definitely use less gas and give us more local generation to ensure we can keep stable rates for our members, he said.

The proposed system runs on gas, which is what Bowling said the companies have found to be most beneficial of everything available on the market including hydrogen. Bowling said they can’t add more solar panels because they need something that generates power even when it’s dark, or after cloudy days.

Without them we cant deploy more solar,” he said. “We cannot add more solar to what we currently have without having something that ensures that power doesnt get interrupted.

The ACC will discuss and determine whether or not to approve the financing in October. Bowling said if they approve the financing, it will take more than a year for the system to get up and running.