In recognition of San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) superior performance in delivering clean, safe and reliable energy to 3.6 million customers in San Diego and southern Orange counties, PA Consulting has honored the company with ReliabilityOne® Awards for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the West Region Metropolitan Service Area (“Best in the West”), Outstanding System Resilience, and Outstanding Technology and Innovation.
“For the past 20 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.”
“It is an honor to provide our customers with best-in-class energy service and one that our 4,500 hardworking men and women take pride in accomplishing for the communities we serve every day,” said Caroline Winn, SDG&E chief executive officer. “Continuous improvement through innovation is embedded in our company culture – we strive to incorporate new technologies and programs that enhance grid resiliency, the customer experience and community safety.”
Over the past decade, SDG&E has made investments in innovative, cutting edge technologies and programs that have made it a utility-leader in wildfire safety and grid resiliency. The company has implemented important grid hardening efforts and integrated enhanced situational awareness tools, like wildfire modeling and drones, to achieve a reduction in potential wildfire risk and customer impacts associated with outages.
In addition to its work in the wildfire space, SDG&E continues to implement innovative workforce initiatives that, when coupled with advanced asset management practices, allow crews to more quickly and effectively detect and address issues on the system. New technologies are also being added to the grid to help isolate faults and help the company remain responsive and proactive with grid maintenance.
This is the 15th consecutive year that SDG&E has received the ReliabilityOne® Award for ‘Outstanding Reliability Performance’ among utilities in the West. To be named the most reliable utility in a metropolitan service area in the Western United States means electricity is available when customers need it, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with fewer interruptions than elsewhere in the West. The ReliabilityOne® Awards are given annually to utilities in eight regions that have excelled in delivering the most reliable electric service to its customers.
Some of SDG&E’s innovative technology and reliability enhancements that contributed to the reliability, innovation and system resiliency recognitions include:
Enhanced Wildfire Mitigation Program: SDG&E has implemented one of the most comprehensive and robust fire risk mitigation programs in the industry. This includes replacing 26,000 wooden poles with steel poles in the most fire-prone areas; building a network of 220 weather stations and 17 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 400 public agencies and community based organizations to enhance outreach, communications and emergency preparedness. Learn more about SDG&E’s wildfire safety initiatives here.
Investments in Technology and Customer Resiliency: Energy reliability and customer resiliency have been a focal point for SDG&E. The company has invested in multiple generator programs to help achieve greater energy resiliency for vulnerable communities. This year, qualifying customers received solar or subsidized generators, and whole-home systems. Four microgrids were also deployed in high fire risk areas to protect communities from the impacts of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). Additionally, the company will soon be upgrading the first utility-owned microgrid in Borrego Springs with new technology so it can operate on 100% clean energy.
Dave Geier, SDG&E’s interim chief operating officer, also received the Outstanding Partner to ReliabilityOne® Award, for his contributions to the ReliabilityOne® program and the betterment of the electric utility industry. Over the past 15 years, Geier has been a steward and driving force behind the iPredict™ innovation partnership that has helped facilitate greater predictive-driven and proactive maintenance responses.
“Over his 40-plus year career at SDG&E, Dave’s leadership and countless contributions has helped guide the company to the place it is today: one of the most safe and reliable energy companies in the United States,” added Winn.