Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

SDG&E: Energy Needs Can Be Met Despite San Onofre Shutdown

San Diego Gas & Electric can meet its customers' electricity needs this summer despite the absence of power from the permanently shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, although users may be asked to conserve energy, utility officials said Tuesday.

Southern California Edison's parent company announced Friday that the plant's two reactor units would be shut down for good. Both units at the plant near Camp Pendleton were taken out of service in January 2012, one for planned maintenance and the other after a small leak of radioactive steam, later attributed to premature wearing of steam pressure tubes, was discovered.

Edison is the majority owner of the facility, but SDG&E owns about 20 percent and the city of Riverside a much smaller percentage.

Michael R. Niggli, SDG&E's president and chief operating officer, said the utility had been planing for a "no SONGS summer'' for some time.

"Knowing that the plant was out last year, we were not anticipating it would be in service this year — although we were hopeful,'' Niggli said.

The San Diego area lost about 440 megawatts from the SONGS outage, but many energy sources had come and gone over the past decade, he said.

SDG&E, SCE and the California Independent System Operator had plans in place to meet customers/ needs safely and reliably, despite another summer without the SONGS facility, according to SDG&E's chairman and CEO, Jessie J. Knight Jr.

However, there could be some challenges.

"This summer SDG&E is reminding customers that while adequate electricity supplies are lined up to meet customer's energy needs, conservation and demand response will still be critical during this time of extreme hot weather, or a unplanned power plant outage or transmission line emergency if it does occur,'' Knight said.

Niggli said if additional power plants or transmission lines are taken out of service because of fires or for other reasons, officials will call on their customers to participate in conservation efforts.

Special Feature What do you think about the decision to close San Onofre?

The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California is closing, after an epic 16-month battle over whether the twin reactors could be safely returned to service, officials announced Friday. What do you think about San Onofre's shutdown?

SDG&E is also working with the California Public Utilities Commission on customer conservation efforts.

"We're going to be asking for the people of San Diego to be a nuclear power plant — and you can be a nuclear power plant by making smart choices,'' CPUC Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval said.

Knight said using less energy could save money, protect the environment and ensure future generations had access to the energy supply. Utility officials will issue a "Flex Alert'' calling on customers to conserve electricity.

Utility officials said that during high demand days, customers should set the thermostat to 78 degrees between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. or use fans instead; unplug electronic devices or use a smart power strip; install weather stripping; use a pool or spa cover; turn off lights when leaving a room; and replace bulbs with CFLs and monitor energy use.

Comments

Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | June 11, 2013 at 6:12 p.m. ― 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The reason utilities worry about outages in the summer is the additional peak demand put on the grid when everyone runs their air conditioning system on hot summer days. If SDG&E and the CPUC were really serious about reducing summer peak demand, SDG&E would work with the major air conditioning manufacturers and local contractors to help customers replace their existing older AC systems with ultra-efficient new ones, by paying at least the replacement cost and promoting the program widely. We'll see around July if they're really serious or just throwing words at the problem.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 11, 2013 at 8:27 p.m. ― 10 months, 2 weeks ago

They don't want people to use less power because then they won't make as much money.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | June 13, 2013 at 7:55 p.m. ― 10 months, 2 weeks ago

SDG&E's revenues haven't been tied to their gas and electric sales since the CPUC decoupled them in 1981. SDG&E makes its revenues by ratebasing big capital projects like Sunrise Powerlink and Smart Meters. If its power sales are higher than projected in its general rate cases, it has to refund that money to ratepayers. If it proves lower than projected, it can adjust rates upward. But SDG&E's executives continue to act like they have to sell more energy to stay in business. This is not true.

( | suggest removal )

Forgot your password?