For 14th consecutive year, SDG&E named best in the west for electric reliability
East County News Service
November 23, 2019 (San Diego) -- Every day, 3.6 million people in San Diego and southern Orange counties depend on San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to power their homes and businesses. Now, PA Consulting has honored the company with the inaugural national Community Safety Award for wildfire safety innovations and a regional ReliabilityOne™ Award for being the best in the West.
“Our 4,200 employees take a tremendous amount of pride in delivering best-in-class service to the customers and communities that we are privileged to serve,” said Caroline Winn, SDG&E’s chief operating officer.” Our company culture is centered around continuous improvement, so we are always exploring new technologies and programs to enhance the safety and reliability of our power grid operations.”
Over the past 12 years, SDG&E has pioneered cutting-edge technologies and programs to monitor and forecast weather and fire conditions; hardened the power grid against wildfires; and built extensive community partnerships to improve emergency preparedness and response.
At the same time, the company has continually invested in upgrading the grid and refining day-to-day operations to reduce the number and duration of power outages. SDG&E’s grid is equipped with high-tech sensors, automated controls, and switches that allow grid operators and field crews to quickly detect and isolate problems and restore power.
This is the 14th consecutive year that SDG&E has received the ReliabilityOne™ Award for ‘Outstanding Reliability Performance’ among utilities in the West. The ReliabilityOne™ Awards are given annually to utilities in seven regions that have excelled in delivering the most reliable electric service to its customers.
Although tens of thousands of SDG&E customers have experienced proactive power outages to prevent equipment from sparking wildfires, in some cases repeatedly, PA’s ReliabilityOne™ awards are is based on industry reliability statistics that measure the frequency and duration of electric power outages. ReliabilityOne™ reports that its participants on average experienced 53% fewer sustained outages, and outages were 41% shorter than the average US investor owned utility.
Some of SDG&E’s innovative technology and reliability enhancements that contributed to the reliability and community safety recognition include:
Innovative Wildfire Mitigation Program: SDG&E has implemented one of the most comprehensive and robust fire risk mitigation programs in the industry. This includes replacing 18,000 wooden poles with steel poles in the most fire-prone areas; building a network of 190 weather stations and 16 high-definition cameras to enhance situational awareness; developing an in-house predictive fire behavior model and various indices to better quantify risk posed by Santa Ana winds, vegetation and other factors; contracting for aerial firefighting resources to be stationed in the region year-round; and forging partnerships with over 100 public agencies to enhance outreach, communications and emergency preparedness. Learn more about SDG&E’s wildfire safety initiatives here.
Investments in Innovative Technologies: SDG&E has built a private LTE 4G communications cellular network that enables high-speed data connectivity for all field personnel, smart meters and devices controlling and monitoring power flow throughout SDG&E’s electric system. The network allows the company to implement new technologies to find system damage, isolate and restore power to customers outside of any damaged area faster, as well as provide better information to crews that are dispatched to repair the damage. Additionally, SDG&E has added more remotely-controlled sectionalizing devices on the system, which improves its ability to strategically isolate damaged facilities, allowing for reduced outage impacts seen by customers during each outage event.
“For the past 19 years, the ReliabilityOne™ Awards have highlighted outstanding electric utility providers who are building a positive human future in a technology-driven world,” said Gregg Edeson, PA Consulting’s ReliabilityOne™ Program Director. “We are pleased to name SDG&E as an industry leader for delivering stellar service and restoration efforts while balancing customer needs and optimizing investments.”
PA’s ReliabilityOne™ awards are presented to electric utilities providing their customers with the highest levels of reliability in the industry. PA has been analyzing electric utility performance since 1987. For more information about PA Consulting, visit www.paconsulting.com/energy.