SDG&E monitoring high heat, Santa Ana winds

Category: 
Energy Efficiency

SDG&E is closely monitoring the elevated temperatures and the “Red Flag Warning” that the National Weather Service issued for strong winds and increased fire danger for the inland valleys and mountains of San Diego County. The Red Flag Warning began at midnight Saturday, Sept. 24 and is expected to last through 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26.

Because of the increased temperatures throughout the county, we are anticipating higher-than-normal energy demand on Monday, Sept. 26. Demand response program customers are being called to reduce their use on Monday. Additionally, we are asking all customers to conserve energy, when possible.

High Heat

SDG&E plans for unexpected situations, like higher-than-normal air conditioning use or emergencies that impact our high-voltage, long distance power lines. Both of these situations, as well as the unexpected loss of a local electric generating plant could impact our ability to deliver reliable power.

The company expects to have adequate resources and is confident that we have a strong plan to meet the operational challenges that may result from the elevated temperatures. We are also reviewing maintenance outages planned for Monday and Tuesday. Some will be rescheduled while others may still proceed as scheduled based on a variety of factors, including public safety or customer approval.

While SDG&E expects to be able to meet customers’ energy needs, we are encouraging customers to educate themselves on what they can do to conserve energy.

Santa Ana wind event

In addition to the elevated temperatures, the region is experiencing the first major Santa Ana wind event of the year. While it’s normal to see the first round of hot and dry Santa Ana winds this time of year, they tend to be weak in nature. However, this event is forecast to be unusually strong for the month of September with widespread gusts 40 to 60 mph across the wind-prone areas.

SDG&E takes very seriously its responsibility to operate the system safely in the best interest of customers. If weather conditions threaten the integrity of the system and create an imminent emergency, power will be turned off to protect public safety. SDG&E evaluates conditions in real-time, looking not only at wind speeds, but also getting reports from the field about what they’re seeing, such as flying debris, movement of the power lines, etc. that could pose a safety issue.

SDG&E personnel and contract fire-fighting crews are in the areas where the winds are forecast to be the strongest. Proactively locating crews shortens response time if there is a service interruption.

SDG&E called medical baseline and temperature-sensitive customers to alert them of the possibility of service interruptions related to high winds and reminded them to be prepared to activate their personal emergency plan.

Customers who live in the areas where the high winds are forecast to be strongest are encouraged to monitor SDG&E’s weather information page for real-time updates on conditions sdge.com/tools/windspeed-dashboard.

Because power outages can occur during these kinds of windy conditions, customers should be prepared with flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-operated radio and a phone that doesn’t require electricity.

What can you do now?

Stay in the know by following the company on Twitter (@SDGE). Visit sdge.com/summer for the latest information about conservation and energy efficiency tips to use at home.

Conservation tips

If there is a voluntary call to conserve, SDG&E encourages customers to:

  • Set thermostats to 78 degrees when at home, health permitting. Central air conditioning is one of the biggest energy users so this will greatly assist conservation efforts and save you money.
    • For every 2 degrees you turn up your thermostat in summer or down in winter, you can reduce costs by up to $200 a year.
  • Use fans, like a ceiling or portable fan instead of A/C.
  • Power down equipment. Unplug TV, cable, DVD or gaming devices when idle, or use a smart power strip.
    • Powering down can save you up to $300 a year.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights, hold off on doing laundry, running your dishwasher, etc. especially from 4 to 9 p.m.
  • Close blinds, shades or drapes during the hottest part of the day to block out the sun’s heat.

Energy Efficient Year-Round

To become more energy efficient to permanently reduce usage in your home, try the following:

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LEDs, which provide the same amount of light, use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Save by washing full laundry loads in cold water. More than 70 percent of the cost of a load of laundry is in heating the water.
  • Check weather-stripping around doors and caulking around windows. Properly sealed doors and windows help prevent warm outside air from entering the home.
  • Check your pool pump: A pool pump uses more energy than some of the other appliances in your home combined. Installing a properly sized variable-speed pump can save you between 30–75 percent on its energy costs. SDG&E’s Marketplace has a wide-range of information on where to find energy efficient appliances for your home or small business.
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