SAN DIEGO, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has recently earned two national recognitions that demonstrate the utility's momentum in developing a smart grid for the benefit of the region. SDG&E received the "Top Ten Best North American Utilities" award for smart grid development from Greentech Media, which is one of the nation's leading cleantech news and research websites. SDG&E also was one of four utilities highlighted for successful smart grid customer engagement efforts in a report by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing smart grid benefits to utility customers. Taken together, these advances solidify SDG&E's position as a national leader in the development of the smart grid, which is using technology to enhance reliability, integrate renewable energy and provide more options for customers. "These recognitions demonstrate SDG&E's commitment to using the transformative power of the smart grid for the benefit of our customers, our community and the environment alike," said Jim Avery, SDG&E's senior vice president for power supply. "SDG&E is creating a new smarter, greener grid that will improve the lives of customers, enhance energy efficiency efforts, integrate intermittent renewable energy and bolster grid reliability. We truly appreciate Greentech Media and the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative for recognizing our efforts and highlighting the importance of the smart grid for our communities and our nation." Greentech Media presented SDG&E with the "Top Ten Best North American Utilities" award for launching one of the most ambitious smart grid deployment plans in the nation that consists of more than 60 separate initiatives for the benefit of the region. Greentech Media stated that SDG&E "have been visionaries" in developing its smart grid and highlighted several programs that are already producing concrete results. For example, SDG&E has installed 2.3 million smart electric meters and gas meter upgrades that give customers the ability to have more choice, convenience and control of how they use energy. The utility is also enhancing reliability by adopting an advanced Outage Management System that leverages real-time data from smart meters to speed up the detection and restoration of power outages; and is operating the nation's largest "microgrid" in Borrego Springs that integrates a variety of smart technology on the local system. This is the second year in a row that SDG&E has received the "Top Ten" award, which was presented at the end of March at Greentech Media's flagship smart grid conference, Networked Grid 2013. This is one of several recent smart grid awards SDG&E has received, including being named "Most Intelligent Utility" for three years in a row by Intelligent Utility magazine and POWER magazine's prestigious "2012 Smart Grid Award" for the nation's most advanced smart grid. SDG&E's innovative efforts to connect with and engage customers in the development of the smart grid were recognized in a detailed report authored by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. As one of only four utilities featured in this national study, SDG&E was lauded for using smart grid technology to change the utility's relationship with customers for the better. By using the newly installed smart meters as the foundation, SDG&E is developing innovative programs that create an individualized, two-way relationship between the utility and the customer, empowering them with more information about energy usage and new opportunities to conserve electricity and save money in the process.