SDG&E: San Diego, SoCal to have enough power this summer
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego Gas & Electric and the agency that oversees
the distribution of electricity in California said Thursday enough power is lined up for
the hot summer months despite the loss of the nuclear power plant at San
Onofre, due in large part to the upcoming opening of the Sunrise Powerlink.
SDG&E President Mike Niggli said the transmission line, which will carry
electricity from the Imperial County desert into San Diego and southern
Orange County, could be energized as soon as this weekend.
“It is just in time,” Niggli said. “This is a very, very big step for
San Diego in terms of ensuring a reliable power supply.”
The major transmission line will have a capacity of 800 megawatts,
nearly double SDG&E's share of the energy produced by the San Onofre Nuclear
Generating Station, which has been shut down since a leak was detected in a
tube in Unit 3 on Jan. 31. Unit 2 was already off-line for planned maintenance.
The plant is likely to be shut down through August, according to its
majority owner and operator, Southern California Edison. SDG&E owns 20 percent
of the plant and receives one-fifth of the power it creates.
With the Sunrise Powerlink on-line and the return to operation of a
plant in Huntington Beach, it would take a combination of problems to cause
blackouts during the summer in San Diego and the rest of Southern California,
the utility officials said.
Eric Schmitt, vice president of operations for the California
Independent System Operator, said temperatures in July and August are expected
to be slightly above normal, so customers could be called on to conserve their
“We really need people to pay attention as we move forward the next few
weeks and into the summer,” Schmitt said.
Customers should keep their eye on upcoming weather conditions and, on
particularly hot days, take extra conservation steps, including not using
appliances until after 6 p.m., turning off unneeded lights and setting the
thermostat to at least 78 degrees, utility officials said.
Peak power usage during the summertime is between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.,
because customers are arriving home and turning on their air conditioners,
industry is still running and most businesses are open, according to Niggli.
Caroline Winn, vice president of customer services for SDG&E, said the
utility is offering a new program for residential and small business customers
who heed the call for conservation. On days when the utility asks for usage
reductions, customers who comply will receive a credit on their next bill, she
Customers who want to participate can sign up via sdge.com, using the
“My Account” tool, she said.