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Essential Workers Maintaining Electrical Grid as Parts of San Diego Safely Reopen

San Diego Was First Region on West Coast To Enact Covid-19 Safety Measures To Ensure Grid Stability

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – As some San Diegans return to work and others continue working from home, today Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer will discuss measures taken by electric utility workers to ensure continuous power throughout San Diego County.

Mayor Faulconer will be joined by Scott Drury, President of San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and Nate Fairman, Business Manager of IBEW Local Union 465, which represents 2,700 utility workers in San Diego and Imperial Counties. San Diego was the first region on the west coast where its utility proactively sequestered grid operators on-site to ensure power stability and reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

“San Diegans are working in new locations and on new schedules, so our utility workers are on the frontlines ensuring power keeps flowing 24/7 to homes, hospitals and reopening businesses,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Every flip of the light switch is made possible by thousands of dedicated workers who are making personal sacrifices to keep our region running during this crisis.”

In response to the pandemic, SDG&E began enacting safety measures to keep employees healthy and ensure a safe, reliable power supply for San Diego County. Over the past six weeks, grid operators at SDG&E have sequestered into teams, with employees working 12-hour shifts and living onsite. A new team is rotated in every 14 days. Teams have separate living spaces, recreation areas and entrances to their workplace to ensure operator health and safety.

“At SDG&E, we pride ourselves on having provided San Diegans with essential services for more than 140 years. We take our responsibilities seriously and are committed to ensuring the continued delivery of clean, safe and reliable energy despite unprecedented challenges,” Drury said. “As importantly, we are committed to playing an active role in the region’s recovery from the COVID crisis.”

SDG&E’s grid operators include transmission system operators represented by IBEW. They are part of a team responsible for transporting electrical power through a variety of complex monitoring systems.

“The Transmission System Operators at SGD&E are happy to be considered essential workers, however, along with that title comes additional responsibilities. Our families are the ones that must bear a great deal of this burden, and we are thankful for their support,” said Blaine Adams, a SDG&E Sequestered Transmission System Operator and IBEW 465 Shop Steward. “We are looking forward to the day that we can put this pandemic behind us and all return to our normal work schedules and return to our normal lives. However, the transmission system operators, as well as all of the other employees at SDG&E, will do what it takes to see us through this.”

SDG&E has also implemented additional hygiene measures for all employees performing work in customer homes and businesses, including physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment such as face masks.

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