CPS Energy and the city’s first responders communicate on a single radio channel for faster emergency response

The summer heat is challenging every Texas community. Air conditioners run harder, and so do our power plants. Drought and fire risks grow while water restrictions and energy conservation calls go into effect.

Yet should a city and countywide emergency occur, the quick response of frontline emergency personnel makes all the difference, especially in a community that continues to spread in all directions.

As part of our Summer Safety Series and to enhance communication during major events, CPS Energy, the City of San Antonio (CoSA), and Bexar County will talk to each other on a single public safety radio channel known as the Alamo Area Regional Radio System (AARRS).

“Being on a common platform is tremendous because we connect directly to other public safety agencies,” said Joseph Deuel, manager of CPS Energy’s Wireless Services Group.

This communication hub offers advanced capabilities for coordinating emergency procedures and promotes better real-time information sharing with emergency partners during severe events that can lead to service disruptions. CPS Energy will also have access to over 50 mutual aid channels as an added benefit of this platform.

More Service Coverage

There are approximately 10,000 radios in operation across the county.

“Our CPS Energy teams use the radios for day-to-day operations. This practice ensures that our field teams are not scrambling to learn how to use the radios at the last minute, especially during a major storm. The radios are now second nature for our teams,” added Deuel.

This systemwide radio system provides 99.9% coverage in CPS Energy’s service area. Now, the radios’ signal reach has been extended 10 to 15 miles in every direction outside our service area, including San Antonio, Bexar County, and portions of the surrounding seven counties.

Robust Testing

Launching the new system was complex, not just a turn of the radio dial. The platform underwent an intense nine-month testing period.

First, the pilot program started by dividing Bexar County into smaller CPS Energy service areas. Next, testing teams drove to each location to measure the radios’ clarity, reach, and performance. This comprehensive review allowed CPS Energy and its partners to find several spots where the new radios outperformed other communication devices, such as cell phones.

“Our team has worked through all various terrains, ensuring the coverage goes above and beyond our current area. The reliability and resiliency of the new radio system support CPS Energy employees to communicate in all environments and maintain critical services for the public,” said Deuel.

Keeping San Antonio Safe

CPS Energy invests continuously in our community, and this latest improvement is just one way we show our commitment to safety and efforts to serve our growing region.

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