SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego Gas & Electric has secured sufficient energy supplies to power the San Diego region this summer, even as the county braces for searing temperatures that could strain the power grid, the utility announced Friday.
Each year in the months leading up to summer, SDG&E works with the California Independent System Operator to make infrastructure improvements that ensure the power grid is prepared for extreme weather or an unexpected emergency in the energy-transmission system, the company said.
This year, those improvements included adding four innovative machines -- two in Oceanside and two in Bonita -- that help control sudden increases or decreases in power as generating sources change, SDG&E said.
The machines, called synchronous condensers, make the power grid more reliable and stable.
SDG&E also added extra energy-storage capabilities this summer thanks to two new facilities opened earlier this year, including one in Escondido that boasts the world's largest lithium-ion battery storage, the utility said. The 30-megawatt energy storage facility can store up to 120 megawatts of energy, the equivalent of powering 20,000 customers for four hours. A smaller 7.5- megawatt facility was also added in El Cajon.
These facilities help store power from the mid-day solar power peaks to be used in the evening, when the power demand spikes, SDG&E said. The utility is also asking its customers to be wise about the ways they use energy.
"With local temperatures trending higher than average, including record- setting temperatures in our deserts, we are working to ensure our customers have the tools and resources they need at their fingertips to make smarter energy decisions," SDG&E Chief Operating Officer Caroline Winn said. "No matter what your personal energy-savings goals are at home, we hope our customers are taking advantage of the wide array of programs we offer to help you save both money and energy."
Among the tips that SDG&E provided that can help save energy and money is the purchase of a Nest or Ecobee smart thermostat, which will qualify customers for a $50 rebate.
"Customers who then sign up and remain on the `Reduce your Use' program through the summer will qualify for an additional $75, bringing the total rebate to $125," SDG&E said. "With a smart thermostat, customers can take advantage of SDG&E's `Reduce Your Use Thermostat' program and participate in `event days' where they are called on to conserve energy through the `Reduce Your Use' rewards program. Participants can opt-in to receive an email, text, or voice alert when the program is triggered and may qualify to earn a credit on their bill."
Those looking to invest in energy-efficient products can visit SDG&E's online marketplace to shop, compare prices and find participating businesses.
Other tips the power utility provided to help save money and energy, especially during the peak hours of 3 to 9 p.m.:
Adjust the thermostat to 78 degrees, avoiding charging electric vehicles during peak demand hours; doing laundry or running the dishwasher earlier in the day or late at night; replacing regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LEDs; using motion sensors on outdoor lights; and sealing or insulating homes to keep cool air inside.