SDG&E Installing New Smart Grid Technologies To Create "Self-Healing" Electric Grid For San Diego

SDG&E Installing New Smart Grid Technologies To Create "Self-Healing" Electric
                              Grid For San Diego

Benefits for Customers Include Faster Outage Detection, More Renewable Energy
and Enhanced Safety

PR Newswire

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 30, 2013

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is
installing several smart grid technologies on the electric grid in the San
Diego region that are creating a more resilient and responsive energy network
for local residents. These technologies include wireless sensors that
automatically detect outages and other problems on the electric grid, and
devices that smoothly integrate environmentally beneficial renewable energy.
With the installation of these technologies, SDG&E is creating a more
automated electric grid that promotes greater awareness of system conditions
and can quickly respond to changes and events. In many cases, this grid will
even be able to use this information to "heal" itself remotely or sense
problems before they occur.

"San Diego's electric grid is becoming one of the most advanced and reliable
energy systems in the nation," said David Geier, vice president of electric
operations for SDG&E. "The grid can respond immediately to outages and is
increasingly resilient to events, while being more sustainable overall through
the integration of clean energy. We are proud to be implementing these
innovative smart grid technologies for the benefit of San Diego residents."

By using an efficient broad-based wireless network provided by a local San
Diego company called On-Ramp Wireless, the fault detectors described above
immediately send alarms to grid operators if a problem occurs anywhere along
the power lines. Instead of the time-consuming process of dispatching crews
in the field to look for faults on electric wires during an outage, SDG&E will
know where the outage occurred on the electric line and can quickly send crews
to that location based on the automatic wireless signals sent by these
devices. SDG&E has installed 2,000 of these devices throughout the region
and intends to install 10,000 by 2017.

In addition to enhancing reliability and reducing outage times through these
wireless sensors, the automation of the electric grid will also provide
numerous environmental benefits by efficiently integrating clean renewable
energy onto the system. These new cleaner forms of renewable energy – wind
and solar – pose some challenges to utilities because they are intermittent by
nature. If a cloud moves in front of the sun or the wind stops blowing, the
power output of these sources can become unavailable suddenly and
indefinitely. The smart grid is designed to counter the highly intermittent
nature of renewable energy sources through new technology that senses and
accounts for any variability in near real time.

For example, SDG&E is deploying a new voltage stabilizer called a "dynamic VAr
device" on a circuit with a large solar array that is already causing voltage
fluctuations on the grid. The new device will level out the voltage drops
caused by the fluctuating solar generation, thus preventing potential power
quality problems. SDG&E also installed five batteries in 2012 – three small
units in the community and two large units at SDG&E substations – designed to
provide power and support the grid when the output from renewable sources
fluctuates or becomes temporarily unavailable.

SDG&E also has embarked on a condition-based maintenance program that can
extend the life of valuable infrastructure by remotely "sensing" potential
problems and alerting utility crews when maintenance is needed. SDG&E has
installed these sensors on 75 percent of substation transformers and has used
them to detect several problems before damage occurred to these million-dollar
pieces of equipment. This not only saves money and reduces maintenance trips
in the field, it can prompt repairs to vital infrastructure before they fail,
which enhances electric grid reliability and safety.

SDG&E in late 2012 launched a new Outage Management System that leverages the
utility's 1.4 million smart meters and other smart grid technology to speed up
the detection of power outages and help restore electricity to customers
faster than ever before. By combining the capabilities of this system and the
advances described above and continuing to install new smart grid
technologies, SDG&E will create a safer, more efficient and greener energy
system for San Diego residents.

All these efforts are aimed at transforming older infrastructure into a new,
more versatile, "self-aware" energy grid that is able to sense and respond to
real-time information faster to enhance reliability and make the system more
sustainable overall. The "self-healing" aspect of the grid is a key element
of SDG&E's overall smart grid deployment effort, which is one of the most
ambitious in the nation and consists of more than 60 separate initiatives for
the benefit of the region.

Many of SDG&E's new automated grid technologies will be discussed at
DistribuTECH 2013, which is the nation's largest energy conference and is
occurring at the San Diego Convention Center from Jan. 29-31.

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy
service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more
than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.
The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating
ways to help customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary
of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company
based in San Diego.


SOURCE San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)

Contact: Hanan Eisenman, San Diego Gas & Electric, (877) 866-2066, Twitter:
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