With 2019 just around the corner, it’s time to take a moment to look back at 2018. We are very grateful for the ongoing collaboration with local organizations – in particular public safety agencies – to avert any major wildfires this past year.
Our community’s safety is our No. 1 priority.
Our commitment to becoming America’s cleanest, safest and most reliable energy company for the customers we are privileged to serve remains as strong as ever. It’s the driving force for everything we accomplished in 2018 and plan to accomplish in 2019.
Here is a look back at our top ten milestones in 2018.
1. Receiving the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI’s) 2018 Edison Award
EEI bestowed SDG&E with the electric power industry’s most prestigious honor for enhancing wildfire preparedness and power grid resiliency to better protect our community. The last time we were honored with the Edison Award was in 1941, 77 years ago.
2. Greening Our Energy Supplies
Today, around 45 percent* of the energy we deliver to customers is renewable and comes mostly from solar and wind power. There are no coal contracts providing power to our local grid. We have invested to upgrade our infrastructure so it can better accommodate the fluctuating nature of renewable energy, without destabilizing the power grid.
3. Continuing to Drive Toward a Clean Transportation Future
As part of our Power Your Drive program, we have built and energized about 2,000 electric vehicle (EV) chargers to date at workplaces, apartments and condominiums. We have also started construction on chargers at the Port of San Diego and San Diego Airport as part of our SB 350 Priority Review Projects.
In addition, we have EV infrastructure programs pending before the California Public Utilities Commission. If approved, we would build chargers for up to 3,000 medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles and equipment, including school buses, public transit buses, trucks, and forklifts; and install chargers at parks, state beaches and educational institutions.
4. Garnering National Reliability Award
PA Consulting honored SDG&E with the National Reliability Award for superior performance among utilities in America. To be named the most reliable utility means electricity is available when customers need it, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with fewer interruptions than what most utility customers experience throughout the country. The typical SDG&E customer experiences only one outage every two years.
SDG&E also received the "Regional Reliability Award" for the Western Region for the 13th consecutive year, and the "Outstanding Technology and Innovation" award for the second year in a row for using innovative technology to improve electric service.
Contracted by SDG&E to be stationed here year-round to protect our community, the Aircrane – SkyMaverick – made 275 water drops in 2018, totaling 248,621 gallons, to douse flames that could have morphed into serious wildfires.
6. Energy Storage
Major proposals have been developed (pending approval by the California Public Utilities Commission) to expand energy storage capacity to improve power grid reliability, integrate more renewables and enhance emergency preparedness. Under one proposal, we would add energy storage to support public sector facilities that provide safety, security and emergency services during power outages. A second proposal calls for building five new lithium-ion battery storage facilities. These proposals would strengthen the power grid with a total of up to 250 MWs of energy storage, in addition to the 83.6 MW of storage already in operation.
7. Responding to Customer Concerns
We filed a request with the California Public Utilities Commission to eliminate the state-mandated high usage charge, which impacted more than 105,000 customers this past summer. Eliminating the charge for high energy users would minimize bill spikes during months when energy usage is high.
Nearly 20,000 students in 135 schools in our region engaged in 286 projects centered around science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). These projects were made possible by our Donors Choose initiative, whereby we provided matching funds to more than 200 teachers to implement everything from computer programming to LEGO engineering in their classroom.
Throughout the year, more than 500 of our employees volunteered their time for various local organizations and events– ranging from Coastal Clean Up Day and Facelift City Heights to giving talks as STEM role models and serving meals to families with critically ill children staying at the Ronald McDonald House. In addition, our corporate and employee philanthropic giving touched more than 450 nonprofit organizations in our region.
10. Upgrading Infrastructure at Mobile Home Parks
We have upgraded natural gas and electric infrastructure at more than 3,300 mobile homes in 30 parks. Antiquated master meters (which served entire parks) were replaced with new individually metered utility systems. This made it possible for residents to access money saving programs that they didn’t qualify for previously due to a lack of an individual SDG&E meter.
In 2019, we will continue to be guided by our commitment to deliver clean, safe and reliable energy to our customers. Be on the lookout for more EV charging infrastructure, battery storage, and other innovative projects.
* The 45 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPs) SDG&E has attained does not take into account renewable energy produced by rooftop solar. Our region currently has nearly 1,000 MW of private solar generation capacity – residential and commercial combined – that feed into the regional power grid. The amount of solar power generated locally could power about 700,000 homes.