This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.

El Paso Electric Summer Plan: El Paso Electric (EPE) said this week that it is prepared to provide electricity to El Paso homes and businesses through the summer, the season when the city uses the most electricity. Meanwhile, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the power grid that covers most of Texas outside of El Paso, this week urged Texans to turn their thermostats up and unplug appliances in order to conserve electricity as intense heat blanketed much of the state. During summer heatwaves, homes and businesses crank up their air conditioners, which creates more demand for electricity and strains the ability of utilities like EPE to supply enough power for every customer. The El Paso utility said it prepares for the summer by doing things such as inspections of transmission lines and the procurement of electrical equipment ahead of time. As part of its long-term plan, El Paso Electric seeks to maintain 15% more power generation capacity than it expects to need to power the city. “Our service territory experiences high summer temperatures every year. This is not new to us here at El Paso Electric,” said Abel Bustillos, a director of system operations. “We prepare for it all year.” 

Walmart Mass Shooter Sentencing: The sentencing for the man who killed 23 people and wounded 22 others in a 2019 white supremacist attack at an El Paso Walmart has been pushed to July 5, federal court records show. Originally, Patrick Crusius’ sentencing was to begin June 30. At the sentencing, Crusius, 24, is expected to give his allocution, the first time he will be required to publicly describe his actions and motives on Aug. 3, 2019, when he drove 10 hours from North Texas to El Paso, then opened fire with his AR-15 rifle in the Cielo Vista Walmart parking lot and store. U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama is expected to sentence Crusius to 90 consecutive life terms as part of a plea agreement.

Dr. Gilbert Handal, TTUHSC

Texas Medical Association’s Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Gilbert Handal, a professor of pediatrics and a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, was named the 2023 Texas Medical Association’s Distinguished Service Award recipient – the highest honor a Texas physician can receive for outstanding service to the community and the state. “It’s an honor to be selected for this award, particularly because they look at my life of service in El Paso and beyond, of which I’m very proud,” said Handal, who is board certified in pediatrics, infectious disease and critical care. Handal started his career at TTUHSC El Paso in 1975. During his tenure, he developed five school district-based health care centers, directed a binational primary care system in Ciudad Juárez and worked with medical and pediatric societies in Latin America.

Diego Mendoza-Moyers is a reporter covering energy and the environment. An El Paso native, he has previously covered business for the San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union, and reported for the...