Heat, record-high electricity use cause scattered power outage, says SDG&E

Jul 22, 2006

Media Contact:
Stephanie Donovan

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066



         SAN DIEGO, July 22, 2006 - San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) reports that electricity use skyrocketed to a record peak of 4,502 megawatts (MW) at 2:30 p.m. today, about 1,500 MW higher than a typical summer Saturday, and nearly 500 MW higher than last Saturday’s usage.  SDG&E already had set an all-time system peak yesterday of 4,163 MW.

        "The excessively hot weather drove customer use way above any level we could have predicted, especially for a Saturday," said James P. Avery, senior vice president-electric.  "The peak was literally off the chart we use to keep track of demand."

        The heat and record-high usage also stressed SDG&E’s electrical system, causing scattered localized outages around the county, as fuses overloaded and transformers blew.

        "The difference in today’s electricity use compared to any other Saturday is equivalent to the power generated by three power plants the size of the Palomar Energy Center in Escondido, California," added Avery.  "That’s enough electricity to supply about 975,000 homes."

        SDG&E officials said today’s electrical problems were not caused by a lack of supply.

        SDG&E has called in all available SDG&E crews, as well as contract crews, to work round-the-clock to restore service to customers as quickly as possible.  SDG&E urged customers to call the Customer Contact Center at 1-800-411-SDGE (7343) only to report an emergency.

        "We appreciate customers’ patience and understanding during this time," said Avery.  "It’s likely that we will continue to see the hot weather and high demand will continue for the next several days and possibly all next week."

        With the hot weather forecast to continue, SDG&E reminds you to conserve energy where possible.  Here are some simple steps you can take:

        • Turn off lights and computers when you’re not using them.
        • Use ceiling fans to help circulate air throughout the house.
        • Keep shades drawn on windows facing the sun.
        • Set your air conditioning thermostat to 78 or higher if safety allows.
        • Use major appliances after 7 p.m.
        • If filtering a pool, please do so after 7 p.m.
        • Turn off any unneeded office equipment such as copiers or faxes.
        • People who are temperature-sensitive can visit Cool Zones throughout the county.  To get more information on saving energy, or the energy situation please visit www.sdge.com.

        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 825,000 natural gas meters.  The company’s service territory encompasses 4,100 square miles and serves customers in more than 125 communities in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  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.  To learn more, go to www.sdge.com.