Electricity Use

Residential Electricity Consumption

Improved more than 1 percent from
2016 to 2017

How are we doing?

Residential electricity consumption received a thumbs-up because average annual residential electricity usage in San Diego County decreased by 2% from 2016 to 2017, from 5703 kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 5599 kWh. Local consumption was comparable to other major urban coastal counties in California. San Francisco had the lowest residential electricity usage at 3791 kWh per year. See more information.

Data Source: Pacific Gas and Electric, Usage Reports, 2018; San Diego Gas and Electric, Energy Data Worksheets, 2018; Southern California Edison, Quarterly Customer Data Reports, 2018

Data Source: Pacific Gas and Electric, Usage Reports, 2017; San Diego Gas and Electric, Energy Data Worksheets, 2017; Southern California Edison, Quarterly Customer Data Reports, 2017

Local San Diego County average annual electricity consumption per household decreased from 2016 to 2017. San Francisco also decreased its usage while Fresno, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara increased usage from 2016 to 2017.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The average San Diego County household decreased greenhouse gas emissions from electricity use by an estimated 69 pounds in 2017, equivalent to each household switching 1 incandescent bulb to an LED.

Why is it important?

  • Countywide, electrical generation accounts for almost 23% of greenhouse gas emissions while natural gas use accounts for 8%.
  • Locally, more than 700,000 SDG&E customers are enrolled in 92 energy efficiency programs, saving a total of 346 gigawatt hours of energy in 2016.
  • California residents spend, on average, 30% less on residential energy compared to other states, even though it has one of the top 10 highest residential electricity rates in the country.
  • Energy efficiency improvements represent an important opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the energy burden on businesses, public agencies and families (especially for those in communities of concern). The ultimate goal is zero net energy buildings, those that produce as much energy as they consume. Check out the Zero Net Energy Roadmap for Local Governments and Energy Upgrade California for more information.

San Diego County residential electricity usage follows a trend similar to other major urban areas in California, spiking during late summer and early fall with a smaller peak in December and January. Among the counties selected for comparison, Fresno experiences the most dramatic increase each summer.

Data Sources: Pacific Gas and Electric, Usage Reports, 2018; San Diego Gas and Electric, Energy Data Worksheets, 2018; Southern California Edison, Quarterly Customer Data Reports, 2018

Among the major investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in California, San Diego Gas & Electric (serving 1.4 million business and residential accounts in San Diego and southern Orange counties) averages less electricity use per household annually than Southern California Edison (serving 5 million accounts in central, coastal and Southern California) and Pacific Gas and Electric (serving 16 million accounts in central and Northern California).

Data Sources: Pacific Gas and Electric, Usage Reports, 2018; San Diego Gas and Electric, Energy Data Worksheets, 2018; Southern California Edison, Quarterly Customer Data Reports, 2018

  Idea for Change

An increasing number of local and state governments are adopting residential energy disclosure policies to monitor and meet their GHG emission reduction targets. Residential energy conservation and disclosure ordinances typically include the disclosure of a building’s energy performance at the time of a sale or major renovation in the form of an asset rating, such as the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score. While, initially, these polices require stakeholders to adopt a new process, they provide an effective way to increase transparency of a buildings’ efficiency and inform building owners and renters on the energy-saving opportunities that may exist.

  Bright Spot

In order to make San Diego neighborhoods safer and save energy, the city partnered with GE to deploy sensors on 3,200 streetlamps to create an Internet of Things (IoT) smart system. The smart sensors use real-time data to help optimize traffic and parking, enhance public safety and track mobility. Scheduled to be completed by summer of 2018, it will be the largest city-based IoT platform in the world. Information from the sensors also can be used by developers to create apps and software that can benefit the community. Combined with an upgrade of more than 14,000 streetlights to LEDs, the efforts will provide San Diego a 60% reduction in energy costs for powering the city’s lights.

  What are we measuring?

We measure residential electricity consumption by tracking average annual electricity use per household in San Diego County. We compare that regional consumption to other California counties on an annual and monthly basis and also compare residential usage between the major investor-owned utilities in California. Greenhouse gas emissions are estimated using the Energy Policy Initiative Center SDG&E Service Territory Emissions Factor and are reported in pounds of CO2 equivalent. Emission equivalency derived from the Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. Learn more about the data.