Frequently Asked Questions About Rotating Outages

Q: Who is the California Independent System Operator (California ISO)?
 
A: The California ISO maintains reliability on one of the largest and most modern power grids in the world. As the statewide power grid operator, the ISO works diligently around the clock to meet the electricity needs of consumers, while increasing the amount of renewable energy to usher in the clean, green grid of the future. 

Q: What are Flex Alerts and how do they work? 
 
A: Flex Alerts are part of a state-wide program run by the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages the power grid in California. The ISO typically calls a Flex Alert when state-wide forecasts are trending higher than average. The goal of the Flex Alert is to encourage Californians to conserve as much energy as they can during the designated time periods.  

Q: If rotating outages are called, how will customers know if/when it’s their turn? How long do they last? 
 
A: If we are in a situation that requires officials at the California Independent System Operator to call for rotating outages, SDG&E will communicate to customers through local media, social media and phone calls to alert them of the situation. Customers can see whether they may be affected by checking their SDG&E paper bill, the SDG&E app or via sdge.com/myaccount. Circuit numbers and curtailment block numbers are listed in the electric service section of their paper bill. Customers can then compare their block and circuit numbers with the list of the affected blocks and circuits posted at sdgenews.com. Safety tips on what to do during an outage are available at sdge.com/outage

Q: When you forecast usage on hot days, do you account for some level of conservation? 
 
A: Yes, we account for energy savings from some of our larger customers who are incentivized to save when we need it the most. These are called Demand Response programs. Some of our larger customers who are running businesses that require a lot of energy are given an incentive to shift their load when energy demand is trending higher than average.  

Q: Did you see a reduction in energy usage as a result of the call for conservation? Did usage trend lower than forecasted? 
 
A: While we can track some conservation and demand response efforts, we can’t track all of it, so it makes it hard to say how much energy was conserved. When we are not asked to initiate rotating outages, it could translate into some energy that was not used by way of conservation efforts put forth by customers.  
 
Q: Will demand response or conservation really impact the power situation this summer? 
 
A: Reduce-your-use programs and conservation measures are critically important when we are facing power supply issues. SDG&E has a number of programs that allow customers to save money while reducing their energy use during periods of peak demand. Customers can take advantage of our Reduce-your-use program, which gives all residential customers a reward in the form of a bill credit if they are able to conserve when asked.  
 
 Q: Should SDG&E customers expect to have unreliable power this summer? 
 
A: SDG&E works all year to ensure that the system is reliable, and even more attention is paid in the months leading up to the hot summer months. This year is no exception.  
 
We recognize that there likely will be additional constraints on the Southern California electric system during prolonged periods of heat and high energy use this summer, which is why we are preparing now to increase our communication to customers about conservation measures and reduce-your-use programs.  

Q: If rotating outages are called, how will customers know if/when it’s their turn? How long do they last? 
 
A: If we are in a situation that requires officials at the California Independent System Operator to call for rotating outages, SDG&E will communicate to customers about rotating outages lasting about an hour through local media, social media and phone calls. Customers can see whether they may be affected by checking their SDG&E paper bill, the SDG&E app or via sdge.com/myaccount. Circuit numbers and curtailment block numbers are listed in the electric service section of their paper bill. Customers can then compare their block and circuit numbers with the list of the affected blocks and circuits posted at sdgenews.com. Safety tips on what to do during an outage are available at sdge.com/outage.