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CAISO and SDG&E Repeat Summer Forecast, Conservation Call

Zeroing in on a portion of the state that may be the most problematic regarding peak-demand electricity supplies this summer, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. last week urged more conservation in San Diego County this summer as an added precaution against supplies getting tight during periods of high peak demand.

Noting that there are going to be days when the supplies get tight, officials with the utility and the state grid operator suggested that stepped-up demand response efforts and other conservation will help lower the peak demand and pull the area through any sustained heat periods.

Sempra Energy's SDG&E utility stressed that last summer on Sept. 10 it set a new record for peak demand for the first time in seven years, even though CAISO on a statewide basis set new peak records seven different times last year and in previous years set new peak-demand records a number of other times.

Both CAISO and SDG&E called a press conference last Monday to remind the local San Diego residents and businesses that the "possibility" of regional power outages would be back this summer because of a combination of continued electricity demand growth and an energy infrastructure -- particularly in the southern half of the state -- that is still not all that it should be.

"In light of the strong interest and concern over the summer power issues, SDG&E accelerated its efforts to get a new power plant and key transmission line energized in time to beat the summer peak demand," said a SDG&E spokesperson. CAISO's interim COO Jim Detmers and grid operations director, Jim McIntosh, joined utility officials in urging more voluntary conservation.

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