SDG&E issues "Flex Alert," urges consumers to reduce energy duri - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

SDG&E issues "Flex Alert," urges consumers to reduce energy during hot weather

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego Gas & Electric implemented its hot weather discount program for the first time Thursday to benefit customers who reduce power consumption between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

With the "Reduce Your Use" program, customers can reduce their bill 75 cents per kilowatt hour saved during those hottest hours of the day. That's the equivalent of waiting until evening to do a couple of loads of laundry, Allison Zaragoza of SDG&E told City News Service.

She said the utility calculates savings by comparing a customer's usage to that of five similar days.

High temperatures were expected to reach well into the 90s throughout most of San Diego County through the weekend. The heat wave was also affecting other areas of the state, prompting the California Independent System Operator -- which manages the power grid -- to issue a "Flex Alert," asking residents to reduce power use during those same hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

SDG&E developed its "Reduce Your Use" program partially in response to the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at the end of January due to a leak of radiation from a steam pressure tube. Twenty percent of the power produced at the nuclear power plant went to SDG&E, but that amount was replaced by the recent opening of the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line.

Customers can sign up at the utility's website -- sdge.com -- to be alerted to future "Reduce Your Use" days.

SDG&E also suggested that customers reduce consumption during critical hours by raising the thermostat between four and six degrees, not running major appliances, turning off pool pumps and unplugging power strips.

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