For All They Do, Sempra’s Utilities Need Innovation Too

1/13/09Follow @bvbigelow

Perhaps because they operate in heavily regulated industries, electric and gas utility companies are not usually regarded as centers of innovation. And to some critics, the utilities operated by San Diego’s Sempra Energy seem to operate in stodgy defiance to anything shiny and newfangled.

But it’s a bad rap to Hal Snyder, who oversees strategy and program development as vice president for customer programs at both San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Co. Both utilities are owned and operated by Sempra, and account for more than half of the company’s profits. Snyder and other utility executives talked with me at length about some of the technology advances they have underway and the innovations needed to change the way energy gets distributed in Southern California.

“We have been involved in fuel cell projects, sustainable energy community projects, and photovoltaic solar panels installed in various places,” Snyder says.

In July, SDG&E became one of the first utilities in the country to begin the full deployment of so-called … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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