T&D World Magazine

Tucson Electric Power to Upgrade Radio Communications System

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has selected Motorola, Inc. to install a new Project 25 radio communications system. The first P25 system to be deployed by a utility in the Western United States, the ASTRO digital trunked two-way radio system will position TEP for future interoperability with state and local public safety agencies.

"Hurricane Katrina put a spotlight on the importance of communications between utilities and public safety agencies," said Steven J. Glaser, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Transmission and Distribution, TEP. "Utility crews are often the first emergency responders at the scene of a disaster and their ability to communicate and coordinate with various public safety agencies and even other utilities is highly beneficial in restoring service safely."

Project 25 is the national interoperability standard for digital radio systems. Several municipalities in Arizona have implemented Project 25-compliant systems including Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale, Yuma and Marana.

TEP's service territory covers 1155 square miles and serves more than 380,000 customers. The new TEP system will be implemented in two phases. Initial work will include the upgrade of existing dispatch consoles. The second phase is expected to be concluded by year-end and will fully upgrade its existing Motorola 7-channel SmartWorks trunked radio system to a Motorola ASTRO 7X system.

"As Arizona communities and the state continue to transition to P25 communications systems, we'll have the ability to immediately communicate with all local and state users and neighboring utilities in the event of an emergency," said Glaser. "The new system also ensures we'll have the flexibility and scalability to meet the needs of our growing community well into the future."

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