SDG&E expects 97 percent of fire-impacted customers restored by Nov. 4

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Doug Kline/Christy Heiser

San Diego Gas & Electric

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        SAN DIEGO, Oct. 27, 2007 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) officials today said they have completed most of their damage assessments from the devastating Southern California wildfires and now expect to restore service to 97 percent of impacted customers by next weekend.

        Since the wildfires started Oct. 21, service has been restored to 91 percent of the nearly 80,000 customers who lost power over the past week.  Currently, about 6,700 SDG&E customers are without power. 

        “With all the other hardships our customers are facing as a result of the wildfires, we are doing everything we can to expedite their service restoration – and doing it safely,” said Michael R. Niggli, chief operating officer of SDG&E.  “We’re focusing our efforts on more than 30 local communities and, especially, on some of the most seriously impacted areas, such as Ramona, Escondido, Fallbrook, Poway and Rancho Bernardo.  We appreciate our customers’ patience.”

        More than 1,000 SDG&E utility poles and at least 35 miles of overhead electric wire have been damaged in the fires.  Assessments are not complete, as some of the local fires are still burning.

        SDG&E has 750 employees working on restoration efforts, with assistance from 475 mutual-aid and contract workers. 

        SDG&E estimates about 2,700 customers spread across seven communities will remain without power beyond Nov. 4.

        To reach customers expected to experience outages longer than 48 hours, SDG&E customer service representatives have placed more than 8,000 proactive calls and distributed hundreds of door hangers.

        Restoration estimates for specific communities are available on SDG&E’s Web site at

        SDG&E continues to remind customers to take the following safety precautions when they return to their homes:

        • Do not touch downed electrical lines.   The lines may still be energized and dangerous.  Call 911 and ask for the police department, fire department rescue service or SDG&E.
        • If running an emergency electric generator during an outage, do not connect it to the home’s electrical system.  Doing so could result in death or serious injury and also threaten any SDG&E employees on nearby power lines.  Plugging the generator back into the electric system also can damage appliances.
        • Do not shut off the natural gas meter unless there is the smell or sound of natural gas leaking.  In the event of a leak, the natural gas should be manually turned off at the meter.  Using an adjustable wrench, make a quarter-turn of the valve, moving it from a vertical position to a horizontal position.
        • If the odor is strong, leave the building.  Don’t flip a light switch when the smell of natural gas is strong.
        • If the natural gas meter is shut off, call SDG&E to turn it back on.  Interior natural gas piping and appliances must be inspected for possible damage before service can be safely restored.

        If customers have any questions about the safety of their electric or natural gas service, they should call SDG&E at (800) 411-7343.

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.3 million electric meters and more than 800,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.