SDG&E Introduces Three New Green Button Apps to Help Customers Save Energy

Category: 
Customer Programs, Energy Efficiency, General

SolarCity’s Solar Home Energy Graph, EnergyAi™ and Ecova’s Meter Dashboard Available for SDG&E Customers to Connect to Their Energy Data

SAN DIEGO, May 2, 2013 – Today San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced plans for residential and business customers to be able to use three new apps that utilize the Green Button Connect My Data platform to manage energy use and find new ways to save energy.

In addition to PowerTools, the first Green Button Connect app available to SDG&E customers, SDG&E customers can now log into My Account and authorize apps including  SolarCity’s Solar Home Energy Graph, EnergyAi™ and, in the near future, Ecova’s Meter Dashboard, to receive and analyze their energy data automatically. This represents the beginning of a steady stream of new Green Button apps coming soon for SDG&E customers, with approximately 20 apps expected to be connected by SDG&E this year.

“The addition of these innovative new apps is another exciting milestone in allowing our customers to benefit from technology, take control of their energy use and find ways to save,” said Caroline Winn, SDG&E’s vice president of customer services and chief customer privacy officer. “At SDG&E, we are focused on offering our customers choice, convenience and control when it comes to their energy use, and we look forward to adding more third-party Green Button app options for our customers in the future.”

SolarCity’s Solar Home Energy Graph helps SDG&E customers assess how much of their energy could come from the sun. SDG&E customers who are considering going solar can authorize SolarCity to receive 13 months of the customer’s smart meter energy data, which they can use to evaluate their home’s potential for solar. SolarCity will also email a link to a personalized online home energy graph to the customer.

EnergyAi offers deep analytics that identify energy savings opportunities in commercial, retail, institutional and industrial facilities. EnergyAi charges a $20 fee for this service, which is refundable if the customer is not satisfied. SDG&E does not charge any fees for signing up or for the service itself, and no charges will appear on the customer’s bill.

Using Green Button data provided by SDG&E, Ecova’s Meter Dashboard energy monitoring product incorporates smart meter data allowing businesses to view their energy use. The Meter Dashboard is expected to be available for SDG&E customers this month and provides data visualization tools to help customers quickly identify specific sites that are using more energy than other sites.

Green Button Connect My Data is an automated, more advanced level of the initial Green Button data download tool, and the next step in the industry-led Green Button initiative. To date, more than 20,000 customers have downloaded their energy consumption data with the SDG&E Green Button download tool. Through Green Button Connect My Data, customers can now authorize third parties to securely access their energy usage data on an automated and daily basis.

SDG&E customers can authorize the PowerTools, Solar Home Energy Graph, EnergyAi and Meter Dashboard apps to receive data by logging into My Account from a desktop or tablet computer, clicking on the My Energy tab, clicking on Green Button Connect My Data under the Related Links tab on the right,  and following the instructions to select their device. These apps are available in addition to SDG&E’s apps already available for customers.

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 860,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. Connect with SDG&E’s Customer Contact Center at 800-411-7343, on Twitter (@SDGE) and Facebook.

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Spring break trip takes father and son on “Fast Charging Extravaganza”

Category: 
Clean Transportation, Energy Efficiency, General

What spring break is complete without a family road trip? That’s what SDG&E employee Randy Schimka and his son Brandon sought out to do during their week-long vacation. This trip is now somewhat of a tradition. Last spring, they took an 850 mile trip in their Nissan LEAF – a plug-in electric vehicle – up the Central California Coast without filling up for gas once. This year, they looked to one-up themselves.

“We needed something fun to pursue and we wanted to ‘step it up’ a notch and take things to the next level,” said Schimka, who has been driving his LEAF for more than two years.

They dubbed their weeklong effort the “DC Fast Charging Extravaganza” and made a plan to drive to all of the DC Fast Charging stations throughout Southern California. A DC Fast Charging station is not your typical public charging station. These powerful chargers can dispense about 400 volts DC at 125 amps to fill the battery up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes. Compare that to a regular Level 2 charger, which requires about three to five hours to do the same.  And the emptier the battery, the faster the charging works.

With dad Randy behind the wheel, 16-year-old Brandon was in charge of navigation duties and connecting and disconnecting the DC fast charging connector at each charging station.

World-record setting trip

The father-son duo ended up driving 923 all-electric and all-fun miles over the first six days in April. They visited Borrego Springs via Santa Ysabel, San Juan Capistrano, Diamond Bar, Orange County, Cypress, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Escondido and South Bay, with fueling at some locations more than once.

“We sought out as many DC Fast chargers as we could, and probably ended up using them about 20 times in our week-long driving extravaganza,” Schimka said.

Over the six days of their trip, Schimka and his son even held the world record for mileage in the LEAF, including their biggest day when they drove 240 miles total – all electric.  Nissan’s CarWings website collects and displays driving statistics for all LEAF drivers, so progress for a trip like this is easily tracked.

“We wanted to show people that longer travel is possible with an electric vehicle and the small network of DC Fast Charging stations is out there help to make it happen,” Schimka said. “It really gives you the freedom to go almost anywhere!”

Going even further on no gas at all

These super-fast chargers are changing the perception that electric vehicles are only for people who drive very little.

In addition to the ones Schimka used, SDG&E has a DC Fast Charger at its Energy Innovation Center and soon there will be a new DC Fast Charger on Convoy Street. 

Of course, what would spring break be without a little excitement, which came after leaving the new Borrego Springs charging stations that were part of a donation by SDG&E to fund an electric vehicle education program for town residents.

“We were 90 percent charged when we left the new Borrego charging stations, but we should have waited for that extra 10 percent of charging because the 4000’ elevation gain when coming back up the hill to Santa Ysabel, a 47 mile trip, consumed energy at a record rate.  We had two miles to spare when arriving back to the DC Fast Charger in Santa Ysabel,” said Schimka. “That was an adventure!”

With the Nissan LEAF as their vessel and the fast chargers as their fuel, Randy Schimka and his son Brandon knew this spring break adventure would end up being more than just a road trip.

“We managed to have a lot of fun throughout the week and got to spend some good quality time with each other to boot.  It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?  And like last year, I never heard ‘Are we there yet?’ even once.”

Photos:
Brandon Schimka, 16, supervises the charging at a Fast Charging Station in San Juan Capistrano
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Employee Randy Schimka having fun charging his Nissan Leaf during his spring break “Fast Charging Extravaganza.”
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SDG&E to Award $1 Million in Grants to Local Environmental Champions

Category: 
Community, Environmental, General

Grants will fund non-profit organizations focusing on environmental stewardship

SAN DIEGO, May 1, 2013 – Today, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) kicked-off its annual Environmental Champions initiative, a $1 million charitable giving campaign that funds local environmental non-profit organizations in San Diego and southern Orange Counties.

Beginning today, SDG&E is welcoming proposals from non-profit organizations for programs that engage and educate young people in the community as stewards of the environment in the areas of natural resource conservation and protection, habitat preservation and restoration, and waste and recycling

Grant awardees will receive up to $25,000 for individual projects and up to $50,000 for collaborative projects with partner environmental non-profit organizations. This initiative is limited to environmental education and community engagement programs administered in SDG&E’s service territory.

“At SDG&E, we have a long-standing commitment to helping local non-profit organizations that engage kids through programs that promote environmental stewardship in the San Diego region,” said Pam Fair, chief environmental officer and vice president of environmental and operations support for SDG&E. “We are looking forward to again supporting these organizations that seek to enhance our local environment.” 

Organizations will have an opportunity to submit applications until May 31. Preference will be given to environmental programs that target one or more of the following areas: natural resource conservation and protection, habitat preservation and restoration, energy efficiency, and waste management/recycling.  SDG&E plans to announce the winners early this summer.

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 860,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. Connect with SDG&E’s Customer Contact Center at 800-411-7343, on Twitter (@SDGE) and Facebook.

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Celebrating San Diego’s new solar plant

Category: 
General, Renewable Energy

This past week, a team of SDG&E procurement employees were in Borrego Springs for the official dedication of NRG Energy’s Borrego Solar Generating Station.  The 26 megawatt facility, located in Borrego Springs, is the first commercial-scale solar energy plant to be built in San Diego County.

“In addition to producing green power to help meet California’s renewable standards, the Borrego Solar Generating Station is producing local power right here in San Diego,” said Matt Burkhart, SDG&E’s vice president of electric & fuel procurement.  “We look forward to more local renewable projects coming online in the next couple of years.”

While the solar plant’s grand opening took place this past week, the plant actually started producing power in February.  The 200-acre solar farm consists of 102,000 photovoltaic panels.  The Borrego Solar Generating Station can produce enough power to meet the needs of approximately 21,000 homes.

SDG&E signed a 25 year power purchase agreement with NRG Energy in 2011.

Photos:
Matt Burkhart and his procurement team behind one of NRG Energy’s photovoltaic panels. Each panel measures 3 by 6 feet.
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SDG&E’s vice president of electric & fuel procurement Matt Burkhart along with NRG Energy officials preparing to ceremoniously cut the ribbon on the Borrego Solar Generating Station
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Energy Savings Assistance Program Waiver

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