SDG&E's outage management system could shorten outage times

SAN DIEGO - When the power suddenly goes out, the wait for the lights to come back on won't be as long as it was in the past.

It all begins with smart meters that are now in place in nearly every home in San Diego County.

Before, San Diego Gas & Electric wouldn't know about a power outage until they received calls from customers. Now, the smart meters will send out alerts whenever an outage is detected.

The detection technology has been online for about a month.

"We've had multiple cases where we've had personnel on site before the first customer called," said Vic Romero, director of Smart Grid Projects for SDG&E.

Romero said they've already been able to shave an hour off the restoration for recent outages because of the quicker response.

But the response isn't the only thing speeding things up.

While the smart meters are detailing where the outages are, a new grid-mapping program helps the utility pinpoint where the problem is -- down to the transformer and circuit breaker.

A quicker diagnosis of problems could be critical in a widespread outage.

Smart meters can point to high priority customers like hospitals, while the mapping can more quickly produce a fix.

New remote switches means the solution is sometimes done from afar, without dispatching crews into the field.

SDG&E is among the first in the nation to adopt a smart-grid outage management system for an entire territory.

Print this article Back to Top