El Cajon’s Heart O’ The Hills Mobile Lodge is the first in region to convert SDG&E gas and electrical service to manufactured home owners in new pilot Mobilehome Park Upgrade Program
Heart O’ The Hills Mobile Lodge in El Cajon, is a first in a new pilot program to bring the power of their own utilities directly to the residents, giving them access to all that SDG&E has to offer. In taking away the master meter system, the Mobilehome Park Utility Upgrade pilot program, delivers electric and natural gas utilities directly to the home owner. Responsibility of maintenance is no longer the park owners, but SDG&E.
Hanan Eisenman, SDG&E communications manager, said Heart O’ The Hills is the first park in the region that is completely updated with an entire new gas and electric infrastructure. This pilot program is expected to do the same for 30 more parks in the next two years.
“The benefits to park owners is greater energy reliability and greater energy safety,” he said. “We’ve put in newer, stronger natural gas pipes, and stronger electric distribution lines.”
Eisenman said it does a lot for residents of the park. With the master meter system, any upgrade or problem was the owner’s responsibility. Problems in one space affected all spaces, disrupting all residents utilities. With individual meters, problems can be isolated and fixed, still leaving working utilities for the rest of the residents.
“Now SDG&E is on call 24/7 and if there is a problem we’ll come fix it immediately. It gives residents and owners peace of mind that the problem is going to be taken care of and everything will be fixed by energy experts here at SDG&E,” he said.
Being individual customers, residents have access to all of SDG&E’s services, energy saving tools, and the Care Program for low income clients. “They no longer have to go through the owners. It’s a real win-win for everyone involved,” said Eisenman.
Electric Transmission & System Engineering Vice President David Geier said he is happy to have 47 new customers. He said the project’s overall goal is safety and reliability, especially in East County.
“After the fires of 2003 and 2007 we built a weather network with 170 weather stations primarily across East County,” he said. “It allows us to track the weather, particularly Santa Ana’s, and make key operating decisions about how we act. We throw all of that information out in the public network. From a reliability perspective we are very proud that we’ve had the most reliable utility in the Western United States for 10 years in a row.”
Presenting a State Senate Certificate of Recognition, Sen. Joel Anderson said it is wonderful to see consumers having more control over their energy future.
“It would not have happened without people coming together to form a great partnership,” he said.
Andersons said he wanted to recognize the park owners Jean McCoy and Gertrude Findley.
“Thank you for your dedication, for all the extra hours,” he said. “You didn’t have to do it, but you knew it was the right thing. Everybody was a winner in this.”
Assemblyman Brian Jones, District 71, presented a Assembly Certificate of Recognition and said that a large part of his constituents are mobile home park residents, dating back to when he was elected to the Santee City Council in 2002.
“I’ve had a long and continuous relationship with the mobile park residents and mobile park owners,” he said. “It’s very encouraging to see this kind of project take place because we know that there are hundreds of mobile home parks in my district that need this kind of upgrade and I’m hoping this will make a great example for the other park owners as well.”
Sunil Shori, Utilities Engineer, Safety and Enforcement Division, California Public Utilities Commission said this is the first example, and the goal is to see many more master meter systems transferring to direct service.
“We have a lot of parks in less temperate climates still with only 30 amps available to residents, which is not enough in this day and age. To be able to upgrade that to 100 amp panel really opens up a lot of opportunities for the residents,” he said.
A project like this has many moving pieces and coordination is essential for completion and success, said David Buczkowski, Senior Director, Major Projects.
“It’s impactful, it’s disruptive with construction work and to get through this and have people smiling when it’s done is a great thing,” he said. “Change is difficult. In some respects, you’re pioneers.”
McCoy said everyone in the park were impressed with the way the project was handled.
“They didn’t come in here with one or two people with a pole and a shovel. They came in with a large crew, got the job done and got out,” she said.
Residents gave McCoy wonderful feedback, calling all of the different crews helpful and understanding.
“There would cupcakes and cookies that the residents had made for them,” she said. “It lets you know that we were working with the right crew. We were working with people that cared.”