Sunrise Powerlink
The Sunrise Powerlink brings power through the desert to San Diego. Photo courtesy SDG&E

The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the statewide electric grid, directed San Diego Gas & Electric Friday to initiate rotating, one-hour service interruptions throughout its territory in San Diego and southern Orange counties.

The local outages were the result of excessive heat driving up electricity use and putting a strain on the electric grid. A “Stage 3” power emergency was declared because generating reserves have fallen below requirements and cannot be restored without service interruptions.

The utility posted the areas affected on its website, and customers were advised check their bill for the circuit” and “block” numbers to see if they were in an area that would lose power.

Over 40 neighborhoods were affected, from parts of Chula Vista in the South Bay to Mission Valley, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe and Carlsbad.

A total of about 58,700 customers were impacted in SDG&E’s territory by service interruptions. All impacted customers had their power restored as of 8:03 p.m. – about an hour and 20 minutes after the rotating outages began.

SDG&E advised customers to turn off air-conditioners and other other appliances, such as dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers. Charging of electric vehicles should be deferred until the emergency has passed, if possible.

“Many in the San Diego area have reduced their electric use to help prevent outages. More help is needed,” the utility said.

An intense summer heat wave delivered sweltering temperatures across the San Diego area Friday, sending thermometer readings to near 100 degrees in some coastal areas and well past the triple-digit mark inland.

By 7 p.m. when the interruptions were announced, more than 17,000 SDG&E customers were without power, NBC7 reported.

Residents were being urged to cut back their electricity usage. Cal-ISO offered a series of tips, including:

  • Turning off unnecessary lights;
  • Using major appliances before 3 p.m. and after 10 p.m.;
  • Setting air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher;
  • Using fans; and
  • Keeping drapes drawn.

– City News Service contributed to this report

Updated, 9:05 p.m. with total customers affected, along with announced end to service interruptions.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.