San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has been awarded approximately $2 million from the second phase of the Department of Energy's Smart Grid Data Access funding opportunity. The funding will go toward helping customers control their energy consumption. The total value of the Phase II smart grid project is $4.3 million after SDG&E agreed to provide $2.33 million in funding.
New smart grid technologies on the electric grid are generating unprecedented amounts of electricity usage data that can potentially give homes and businesses more control over their electricity choices, said the DOE. However, consumers need tools and products that are convenient and easy to use to make this data into useable information.
"Through the [Obama] Administration's initiatives such as Green Button, innovative utilities and third-party companies across America are working together to put the power of big energy data directly into the hands of consumers," said Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary for the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
During the first phase of the San Diego Energy Challenge, SDG&E gave customers access to their Green Button data, Weekly Energy Summaries, and an opportunity to receive a bill credit for reducing their energy use below their individual “use less than” amount on high demand days. In phase two, SDG&E will expand the program across its entire service territory and add behavioral studies and customer outreach efforts. Approximately 400,000 customers will be automatically enrolled to receive targeted motivation and messaging via email and direct mail channels. All of SDG&E’s remaining residential customers will be eligible to participate in the program via web sign up.
SDG&E, which serves 1.4 million customers, has installed 2.17 million smart meters for electric and gas. Recently, SDG&E also established five new renewable power purchase agreements for 62 megawatts for solar and wind energy power generation. The utility has also focused on rooftop solar systems for consumer-generated energy to give consumers more control of their energy consumption.