Conservation and Demand-response Programs Still Important
East County News Service
June 28, 2010 (San Diego) – Summer is here, and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) says it has lined up adequate electricity supplies and required reserves to meet customers’ expected energy needs this summer, barring extreme weather conditions
The 2010 Summer Assessment by the California Independent Systems Operator (Cal-ISO), the agency responsible for managing the statewide power grid, also indicates adequate supplies to meet the projected electricity demand across the state – even if hotter-than-average temperatures occur. According to Cal-ISO, there is a less-than-one-percent chance for rotating power outages, due to a resource deficiency.
“We are entering this year’s summer season in excellent shape – thanks to a number of new power sources that have come on line in the San Diego region since last year,” said David L. Geier, vice president of electric operations for SDG&E. “Even though we are in a good position from a resource standpoint, we can’t let down our guard because we always have to be ready for unexpected conditions, whether it is a heat wave or transmission emergency.”
Statewide, nearly 1,760 megawatts (MW) of new generation resources have been added since summer 2009, including more than 80 MW of renewable generation, such as solar and wind. New power plants built in San Diego County also are adding to the available power supply. The 603-MW Otay Mesa Energy Center located near the California-Mexico border is owned and operated by Calpine Corp., but SDG&E has a contract for all the plant’s output for the next 10 years. Three 49-MW peaker plants also have been installed at Pala and El Cajon substations which can start up quickly to meet the peak demand on hot summer days.
Even with adequate power supplies this summer, conservation and demand-response programs continue to be important to maintain grid reliability when demand for electricity is especially high, such as during an extreme heat wave. SDG&E continues to sign up business and residential customers for the utility’s demand-response programs, which offer financial incentives to customers who can use less electricity when demand is high.
“By reducing demand and making conservation a habit all of us can help put off the need to build more power plants,” said Geier. “That’s a good thing for the environment and for our customers’ pocket books.”
SDG&E offers many ways to help customers save energy and save on bills. SDG&E has a robust array of energy-efficiency programs, including online tools to analyze energy, rebates for energy-efficient products, and no-cost, water-saving kits. The kits include three faucet aerators and a low-flow showerhead. These easy-to-install items maintain a high-pressure flow while reducing water volume.
SDG&E recommends these additional tips to reduce energy use and costs:
• Turn off unneeded lights, computers and appliances when not in use. These energy “vampires” can account for 5 percent of your energy use.
• Don’t wait until your standard incandescent light bulbs burn out. Replace them now with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), which use 75 percent less energy and can last 10 times longer.
• Set thermostats at 78 degrees when at home and 85 degrees when away.
• Use major appliances before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m. and unplug small appliances when not in use.
• Check weather-stripping around doors and caulking around windows. Properly sealed doors and windows help prevent warm outside air from entering the home.
• Close blinds, shades or drapes during the hottest part of the day to block out the sun’s heat.
• Install low-flow, water-saving shower heads to cut water use and save 5 percent to 10 percent on water heating costs.
• Save up to 10 percent of hot water costs by washing full laundry loads in cold water.
• Wash full loads in the dishwasher.
• Fix leaky faucets. One drop of hot water per second can waste 2,500 gallons per year.
For more energy-saving tips to use throughout the year visit www.sdge.com/residential or call (800) 411-SDGE (7343).