November 2012 RAM Peak Pricing Form

November 2012 RAM Off-Peak and Baseload Pricing Form

Giving Thanks

What a nice surprise when we arrived at Lindbergh Field (they call it San Diego International Airport now, but it will always be Lindbergh Field to me) Tuesday night to a throng of media welcoming us home as we rode down the escalator to baggage claim.

I am sure the others in the airport wondered who we were and why we required such attention. As I told some of the news reporters last night, we were just normal, every-day people helping other people.  I am sure others would have done the same if they’d been able to help.

SDG&E Launches Advanced Outage Management System To Benefit Region

Category: 
Community, Electric, Outages
New System Promotes Faster Detection and Restoration of Power Outages

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 14, 2012 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced the launch of an advanced Outage Management System (OMS) that will use new “smart grid” technology to speed up the detection of power outages and help utility personnel restore electricity to customers faster than ever before.  With this achievement, SDG&E stands as one of the first utilities in the nation to adopt an outage management system of this magnitude and sophistication for its entire service territory.

The OMS uses new computer software that provides grid operators with real time information about the status of the electric network to help them restore outages quicker.  The new software enhances situational awareness of the entire distribution system and allows SDG&E to know what’s happening on the grid for immediate detection and swifter restoration of outages.  SDG&E has integrated a Geographic Information System (GIS) into the new outage management system, which provides highly-detailed geographical images and technical data about the electric grid.  In addition to localized outages, the OMS will prove useful to effectively track multiple outages during large storms to ensure power is restored as soon as possible.

“The capabilities of the new Outage Management System will make SDG&E one of the most innovative and effective utilities in the U.S. for responding to outages,” said David L. Geier, vice president of electric operations for SDG&E.  “By connecting this system to our extensive network of smart meters, we will have a comprehensive view into the real time state of the grid, which will allow us to identify and restore outages faster due to this amazing technology we have implemented for San Diego.”

The OMS leverages data from approximately 1.4 million smart meters that SDG&E has successfully installed across the region.  The smart meters send remote alerts back to the control room within seconds of an outage occurring in the surrounding neighborhood. Previously, grid operators often had to rely on customers to report outages over the phone, which could take time if the outage occurred late at night or in a remote location with few residents.  By leveraging the technological flexibility of the smart meters, SDG&E will know immediately when an outage happens anywhere on the system and dispatch crews to make necessary and prompt repairs.  The smart meters can also send a signal to let SDG&E know when power is back on. 

In addition to smart meters, the new OMS uses other technology to bolster outage restoration times.  SDG&E is continuing to install Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) devices throughout the electric system to enhance reliability overall.  These “smart switches” employ wireless connections that allow remote control of switches and circuit breakers from a centralized control room.  The SCADA switches can move power around problem areas and quickly restore service to many customers prior to dispatching crews to the field.  The utility has installed SCADA systems on 98 percent of transmission lines and 70 percent of distribution lines, which provide electricity to local communities. 

By integrating the capabilities of the smart meters, SCADA switches and GIS into one system, SDG&E will greatly improve situational awareness and electric grid reliability.  SDG&E will realize other operational benefits as the system builds out in the future, including diagnostic information that details when maintenance is required on parts of the grid, which could fix some potential problems before an outage occurs.

Enhancing grid reliability is a core element of SDG&E’s ambitious smart grid deployment plans, which calls for an overall investment of approximately $3.5 billion from 2006 through 2020 on more than 60 separate projects, from renewable energy integration to battery energy storage.  Many of these smart grid projects and other efforts have enhanced reliability and helped SDG&E receive the ReliabilityOne™ award from PA Consulting Group for six years in a row for the Western region.  SDG&E expects to further enhance its exemplary record on reliability and technological innovation with the new outage management system.

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 850,000 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. 

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SDG&E Executive Caroline Winn Receives Prestigious Customer Service Award

Category: 
Customer Programs, Energy Efficiency
Emphasis on Technology, Innovation Earns Winn Intelligent Utility Magazine’s 2012 Customer Service Leader of the Year Award

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 13, 2012 – Caroline A. Winn, vice president for customer service and chief customer privacy officer at San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), received the 2012 Customer Service Leader of the Year award today from Energy Central’s Intelligent Utility magazine for employing smart grid technology and enhanced customer call center response methods to connect with customers and better serve their energy needs.  With this award, SDG&E solidifies its position as a national leader in developing innovative ways to engage customers about how they can use energy more efficiently and play a vital role in conservation efforts that help the environment.

“To receive this renowned customer service award from one of the leading publications in the energy industry is something I deeply value and appreciate,” said Winn.  “While my name is on the award, this is a testament to the forward-looking and sustainable stance of San Diego area residents, who are early adopters of new technology and ready to get involved in energy efficiency efforts that benefit the region.  I’d also like to recognize the hard work and dedication of all our employees in facilitating this new approach to energy management and helping our customers at every turn.”

Winn received the recognition today as part of the 7th annual Knowledge, Innovation, Technology, Excellence (KITE) awards that are presented by Intelligent Utility magazine at the Knowledge Executive Summit in Houston, Texas on November 12-14.  The event is sponsored by the magazine’s parent company, Energy Central, which is a leading online news and information hub for the energy industry.  The 2012 Customer Service Leader of the Year award specifically honors Winn for “modernization of SDG&E’s contact center, improving billing accuracy, expanding payment options, and development of new customer communication channels.”

Winn has spearheaded several customer service enhancement efforts at SDG&E, including transforming the customer contact center from being primarily focused on billing questions to serving a broader function as the customers’ trusted energy advisor on a variety of subjects.  SDG&E personnel are also expanding beyond phone banks to answer customer inquiries on power outages and other subjects via social media.  This holistic approach to customer service starts with additional training for SDG&E call center representatives that emphasizes broad knowledge of available programs and services.  This creates a one-stop-shop for customers that ensures they get the information they need right away.

In addition to enhanced customer response, SDG&E is partnering with customers to promote energy efficiency through new technology, including the “Green Button,” an online tool that provides customers with easy access to up to 13 months of their detailed energy consumption data, which allows them to investigate more deeply how and when they use energy.  Instead of waiting to get a bill at the end of the month, customers are empowered to get more involved in the way energy is consumed in real time, and take action to find new ways to conserve.  To date, more than 13,500 customers have downloaded their data using the Green Button. 

SDG&E has taken this service a step further by developing “Green Button Connect My Data,” which allows customers to share their energy usage data with third parties of their choice on an automated daily basis.  This opens up a new market for private companies to offer innovative services to customers that help them better manage their energy use and conserve. In addition, SDG&E recently launched the PowerTools app that provides energy usage and other information to customers in new and exciting ways, including through cell phones, tablets and personalized web portals. 

As the utility works collaboratively with customers and integrates new smart grid technology, SDG&E also is putting customer privacy first, by developing a privacy program that offers customers transparency and choice about their information, as well as carefully safeguarding the energy usage data that is offered in the Green Button and other platforms.  An unassailable principle for SDG&E is that the utility is the custodian of the customer’s energy usage data and will protect it.  Winn is a leading proponent of customer privacy and earlier this year authored an influential paper with Dr. Ann Cavoukian, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada, on incorporating Cavoukian’s “Privacy by Design” principles into SDG&E’s smart grid initiative.  By striving to ensure that this rigorous international standard for privacy is built into all smart grid customer programs from the start, SDG&E is taking a leadership role in customer privacy and emphasizing its integral importance to smart grid roll out efforts.

Winn’s award is not the first time SDG&E has been recognized this year for its innovative customer service and smart grid plan.  SDG&E received POWER magazine’s 2012 Smart Grid Award and was named most intelligent utility in the United States by Intelligent Utility magazine all three years the award was given.  In addition, Winn was recently named one of the 15 most influential women in the energy industry by FierceEnergy, a leading website that tracks the latest advances in this field.  SDG&E will continue to develop advanced communications methods for customers and respond effectively to their energy service needs.

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 850,000 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.  

About Energy Central

Energy Central was founded in 1996 to satisfy the global power industry's need for a reliable, trusted information hub where executives and field representatives alike could share ideas and discuss concepts that could alter the future of electric energy. Energy Central provides groundbreaking research, insightful reports and analytics, advisory services, and original, thought-provoking commentary — in print, online and through well-attended events — on energy-driven topics such as utility business, smart grid, renewable energy, energy storage, transmission and distribution, generation and utility analytics.

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It’s a Beautiful Day

It’s 6 a.m. Saturday morning and the sun is out.  It’s a beautiful day and I’m excited that it will warm up to the low 50s, much warmer than it has been.  

SDG&E's Energy Innovation Center Awarded LEED Platinum Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council

Category: 
Community, Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 12, 2012 – San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) Energy Innovation Center (the Center), a showcase facility where residential and business customers can learn about energy efficiency, alternative fuel transportation and clean generation, has achieved LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Earning LEED Platinum certification for the Energy Innovation Center is a significant milestone for SDG&E, and is a testament to all of our committed employees and community partners who have worked to help make this vision a reality,” said Pam Fair, vice president of environmental, operations support and chief environmental officer for SDG&E.  “Since its unveiling earlier this year, this facility has been a valuable resource for the community and is demonstrating ways that we all can move toward a more sustainable energy future.”

LEED Platinum certification is the highest level of sustainability a building can achieve with the U.S. Green Building Council, nonprofit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. For commercial buildings to earn LEED certification, a project must satisfy all LEED prerequisites and earn a minimum 40 points on a 110-point LEED rating system scale.

“SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center has raised the bar for our leadership class of high-performing green buildings in San Diego,” said Douglas Kot, executive director of the San Diego Green Building Council.  “Perhaps, more importantly, the Center has also transformed an underutilized commercial neighborhood center into a beacon of sustainability.”

In order to meet the LEED platinum certification, SDG&E benefited from the incorporation of the latest sustainable features in the Center’s design.  Some of the key elements of the Center include:

  • Six sun-tracking solar “trees” in the parking lot provide shade and generate 62 kW of electricity.  Combined with the solar panels on the roof, the system provides enough electricity to power 31 homes.
  • The “cool roof” reflects the sun's rays and keeps the Center cooler than a conventional roof, which helps reduce the demand on the Center's air conditioning. The roof also has a rain water collection unit that stores water used for the Center’s irrigation system.
  • The landscape features drought resistant landscaping and efficient irrigation technology, resulting in a 50 percent water savings compared to a conventional design.
  • 85 percent of the original building's materials were reused or recycled, including the carpet which is made from recycled tires.
  • Over 10 percent of the materials used to construct the building were harvested, manufactured and processed within 500 miles of the Center’s site, reducing the environmental impacts associated with transportation and shipping building materials. 

SDG&E began construction on an existing 27,000-square-foot building in late-2010 and showcases different examples of highly efficient lighting, HVAC units and leading technologies to demonstrate the choices available for businesses and design professionals to incorporate into their buildings.  Many of the program offerings and design features are the result of a collaborative approach with community-based organizations, local businesses and other key stakeholders and technology sponsors

Key features that customers can experience at the Center include:

  • Smart Home experience tours; sustainability tours; Food Service Demonstration Kitchen; interactive kiosks and resource library;; water-wise walkway with drought-tolerant landscape demonstrations; and a Produce Demonstration Garden.

A key component of the Center is the full commercial Food Service Demonstration Kitchen that boasts over 40 energy efficient appliances.  Chefs, restaurant owners, and facility managers with commercial kitchens can test their recipes on energy efficient equipment to ensure that the updated appliances work well with their dishes.  

In addition to LEED Platinum, the Energy Innovation Center was also recently honored with additional awards including the 2012 Orchid Award for Adaptable Reuse and the American Institute of Architects San Diego Chapter’s Committee on the Environment Award. At the award ceremonies, the Center’s architect, Hanna Gabriel Wells, was recognized for sustainable architecture that integrates buildings with the physical and cultural environment.

The Energy Innovation Center is located at 4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. in San Diego and is open to the public Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  To learn more about how you can utilize the Energy Innovation Center visit www.sdge.com/eic.

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 850,000 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. 
 

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Winding Down

As you read yesterday, our crews were reassigned to Yonkers, New York.  We were staged at Yonkers Raceway along with another 600 linemen from as far away as British Columbia, Canada.  Before we loaded material for the day we received an excellent safety tailgate from Con Edison and a huge thank you from OSHA.

Buckle Up, Yonkers Here We Come!

As expected, we have been released by Orange and Rockland and picked up by Con Edison in Yonkers, NY.  Yonkers is on the Hudson River, 60 miles south of our current location in Newburgh. Crews have been directed back to the hotel to pack and prepare for the relocation.

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