The San Diego County Water Authority is making moves to become part of the energy world in the future. That’s a problem for SDG&E, which is worried about being able to expand and maintain its vast energy grid.
San Diego’s two largest utilities are at odds over power, both literal and figurative.
The San Diego County Water Authority hopes to save millions in coming years by generating hydroelectric power for itself and by buying electricity from sources other than San Diego Gas & Electric, the local power monopoly.
The Water Authority, however, says SDG&E is standing in the way of its plans.
The two agencies are, respectively, the region’s major suppliers of power and water. And their dispute echoes struggles both utilities are already having within their respective industries.
In one example of the Water Authority’s energy ambitions, it just entered into a50-year contract to buy hydroelectricity from the federally operated Hoover Dam. That low-cost power alone could help the Water Authority save $300,000 a year, particularly at its desalination plant in Carlsbad, which uses an energy-intensive process to remove salt from ocean water.