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San Diego Heat Wave Pushed Energy Demand To All-Time Highs

Beachgoers walk on the sand near the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente, June 30, 2011.
Associated Press
Beachgoers walk on the sand near the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente, June 30, 2011.

San Diego Gas & Electric reported Friday that the heat wave earlier this week resulted in all-time highs for energy demand for back-to-back days on Monday and Tuesday, as well as helpful conservation efforts by customers.

Residents and businesses in the utility's service area — which includes San Diego County and part of southern Orange County — used nearly 4,800 megawatts of energy on Monday and nearly 4,900 megawatts on Tuesday.

By comparison, demand on Thursday — and what is expected Friday — range from 3,700 to 3,800 megawatts, according to SDG&E.


High temperatures ranged into the high 90s in most areas on those days and climbed well over 100 degrees in many inland locations. High humidity levels from the remnants of Hurricane Odile led San Diegans to crank up their air conditioners.

On the other hand, many customers used SDG&E's demand response programs to cut back on consumption by an estimated 70 megawatts on Monday and 66 megawatts Tuesday, the utility reported.

"The last several days brought severe weather conditions to SDG&E's service area and we are grateful to our customers, community partners and our first-responders who helped keep San Diego safe and displayed remarkable patience and responsiveness to our requests for help to conserve energy," said Steven Davis, the utility's president and chief operating officer.

"SDG&E is focused on keeping our system running safely and reliably, and the support of the community was immensely helpful in enabling us to meet those goals," he said.

SDG&E officials said late last week that the utility would have more than enough supply on hand to meet the expected demand. The utility worked with the California Independent System Operator — which manages power flow around the state — to make sure enough power was available locally.