Daily Business Report — June 27, 2014
Record Power Use Predicted
This Summer in San Diego
San Diego utility officials say they expect to set power usage records this summer, but they say there will be enough electricity to meet demand.
San Diego’s power supply landscape is sharply different than it was a few years ago. The San Onofre nuclear plant is shut down, the Sunrise Powerlink is running and the recovering economy is hungry for power.
SDG&E President and COO Steven Davis said challenges are looming. “We anticipate in our planning for a peak demand, under normal conditions to be 4,800 megawatts. And 5,300 megawatts under extreme weather conditions,” Davis said. The projected peak is just over 100 megawatts more than the previous record set in 2010. Davis says the jump in demand is from normal economic growth.
“Power grid managers think they have the capacity to be able to deal with the demand this summer. But there are some concerns. If things get hot, or there’s a fire, it could put stress on the equipment,” Davis said.
The California Energy Commission’s Bob Weisenmiller says there’s a pretty good chance that there will be stress this summer. “San Ononfre was a huge resource here. Without that we’ve gotten through the last couple of summers, as you know. However, we’ve had relatively mild weather for the last two summers. Last year was somewhat cooler than average and the summer before was more or less average,” Weisenmiller said
Weisenmiller says he’s confident this will be a hotter than average summer, and that not only increases power demand, but it raises the risk of wildfires.
Foreclosures Continue Decline in May
Foreclosures and default notices in San Diego County continued their downward trend in May, as rising home prices continued to give people enough equity to get out of bad loans. Last month, banks foreclosed on 141 properties in San Diego County, real-estate tracker DataQuick reported Tuesday. That was down from 162 last month and 175 in May 2013. Foreclosures are well below the peak of 2,004 properties repossessed in July 2008, the middle of the Great Recession.
Default notices, which banks file to trigger the foreclosure process, fell to 419 in May, down from 462 in April. In May 2013, lenders filed 642 default notices, which peaked at 3,832 in March 2009.
DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage noted that for the first five months of the year, foreclosures are at an eight year low and default notices are at a nine-year low. “This is a continuation of the mop up stage of the foreclosure crisis,” he said. “That’s not to say a single month or quarter couldn’t shoot up a bit, because we’re at low enough numbers now where just a handful of lenders changing their policies on processing distressed loans could move those numbers up significantly.”
Borrowers who were previously unable to pay their loans have benefited from large appreciation in the last year, as well as economic growth and a falling unemployment rate, LePage said.
— U-T San Diego
Qualcomm Acquires Black Sand Technologies
Qualcomm Inc. has acquired Austin-based fabless semiconductor company Black Sand Technologies. Qualcomm confirms that it acquired the company on June 18, but details of the acquisition have not been disclosed. Black Sand specializes in mixed-signal semiconductors and power amplifiers for wireless applications. Since being founded in 2005, the company has raised over $28.2 million in venture capital.
Hyatt Regency La Jolla Finishes Renovation
Hyatt Regency La Jolla announced the completion of a $12 million renovation that included a makeover of the property’s 417 guestrooms and suites to complement the lobby, public areas and meeting space. The hotel is located within the Aventine in La Jolla. The improvements included the redesign of bathrooms and bedrooms. The rooms feature new lighting fixtures and furnishings including chairs, ottomans, headboards and TV stands. The bathrooms feature all new fixtures and finishes including glass mosaic tiles and white porcelain sinks with stainless steel faucets and hardware. The restyled rooms were designed by Indidesign.
Trigild Names Director of Asset Services
Trigild, a San Diego-based real estate firm specializing in property/asset management and fiduciary services, has named Patrick Walker as its new director of asset services. Walker will be in charge of all forms of business development. It is a newly created position aimed at growing the firm’s third party management business.
For the past 10 years, Walker has been with Voit Real Estate Services, most recently as a senior associate for the firm’s operations across the Western United States. Prior to that, he was an associate for three years for the San Francisco Bay Area firm BT Commercial Real Estate. Throughout his career, he has marketed, sold, managed and leased more than 12 million square feet of office, industrial and R&D space.
Palomar Health Promotes Robert Hemker to President/CEO
Palomar Health promoted its veteran chief financial officer Robert Hemker to the post of president and chief executive officer to succeed Michael Covert. Hemker has served as the chief financial officer for the past 13 years, including a stint as interim CEO in 2002.
The decision by the Palomar Health board of directors follows the resignation of Covert, who accepted a position as the chief executive officer of Catholic Health Initiatives St. Luke’s Health System in Houston.
As president and CEO, Hemker will be responsible for Palomar Medical Center, Palomar Health Downtown Campus and Pomerado Hospital, along with the district’s other services such as expresscare health clinics, the orthopedic institute and the women’s center.
Hemker has more than 30 years in the health care industry. He is an accounting graduate of San Diego State University and received his master’s degree in health care administration from University of La Verne.
— Times of San Diego
Scientific American Lauds ‘Toilet-to-Tap’ Project
The respected Scientific American, the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S., praised San Diego’s “toilet-to-tap” pilot project in a lengthy article in the July edition. The article, headlined “Drinking from the Toilet,” notes that treating sewage to make it drinkable “could be the safest, most environmentally sound source of tap water yet — if we can get over the yuck factor.”
“The city has an opportunity to lead the world in a major rethinking of how we see — and use — wastewater,” the magazine said.
San Diego’s Water Purification Demonstration Project evaluated the feasibility of blending purified water with water from the Colorado River in the San Vicente Reservoir before going to a standard drinking water treatment plant. The city says the project verified the water purification process consistently produces water that meets all state and federal drinking water standards. The purified water is similar in quality to distilled water.
Scientific American said the water recycled from sewage is actually more pure than tap water, which can pick up filth from animals in a reservoir.
— Times of San Diego
U.S. Labor Secretary Visits Grossmont College
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez visited the San Diego Welcome Back Center at Grossmont College on Thursday, learning about the center function of assisting foreign-trained health professionals obtain licenses to work in California.
During his afternoon visit, Perez visited a classroom of English learners who recently immigrated to the United States. After that, he participated in a roundtable discussion that included students and graduates of the Welcome Back Center, and officials from Grossmont College, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, the Health Workforce Initiative California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and regional partners.
Perez shared his family’s story and their work in the health care field. His father was a doctor and his four siblings are also physicians.
“My parents came here from the Dominican Republic,” Perez said. “Political upheaval in my parents’ family has certainly had an impact on my life…My family was a generation ahead of where you find yourself and I’m confident your children — should you have them — will say mom and dad changed our lives.”
Water Authority Raises Water Rates by Nearly 3 Percent
The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors voted Thursday to raise water rates for the 2015 calendar year by 2.9 percent for untreated water and 2.6 percent for treated water. The increases are on the low end of what was proposed last month. The water authority sets rates based on the cost of imports from the Metropolitan Water District, the primary water wholesaler in Southern California, among a variety of factors.
Added to the formula this time is the cost of receiving water from the desalination plant being built in Carlsbad. That facility could begin pumping water in fall 2015, officials said.
The board also approved a $1.5 billion budget that reduces spending by $37 million, or 2.5 percent. The spending reduction is in large part due to a $53.9 percent cut in capital project expenses, offset some by an increase in costs for water purchases.
The water authority sells its water to 24 local agencies, such as the city of San Diego and Helix Water District, which distribute water to residential and commercial customers.
— City News Service
Gafcon Hires Senior IT Project Manager
Construction management firm Gafcon has hired Martin Green as its senior IT project manager. Green has nearly 30 years of experience in leading technical teams in large projects.
Green is a Professional Program Manager certified by the Program Management Institute. He has experience in commercial product management and led many projects in software engineering, web development and infrastructure.