Director at Disaster Tech
Daniel Zaragoza is a retired utility executive with over 40 years of extensive electric operations experience, specializing in electric transmission and distribution operations, emergency management and fire risk mitigation. Prior to retiring in early 2017, Zaragoza was Director of Emergency Management for San Diego Gas & Electric, one of Sempra Energy’s regulated California utilities serving 3.6 million customers in San Diego and Southern Orange Counties. In this role, Zaragoza was responsible for managing and executing the utility’s response to major emergencies that had the potential to cause severe customer and infrastructure impacts to the gas and electric system in San Diego – the second largest city in the state of California. Zaragoza managed both the Fire Coordination and Meteorological teams to ensure operational decisions were made using data and expertise from weather and fire mitigation experts. As part of the company’s commitment to keeping the communities it serves safe, Zaragoza was instrumental in developing one of the most comprehensive and robust fire risk mitigation programs in the industry designed to improve grid resiliency. This included significant strategic investments to fire-harden the power grid, increase situational awareness, update operating protocols and enhance the region’s ability to respond to wildfires. Under his leadership, Zaragoza launched the Meteorology team which continues to play a critical role in identifying mitigating solutions to the challenges of a dramatically changing climate. Zaragoza has an extensive background in the electric sector, a rapidly changing industry that is currently undergoing a major transformation as power providers try to meet stringent state goals to reach renewable energy mandates. As a former director of electric distribution operations, Zaragoza managed a power grid serving millions of people, pioneered the launch of technologies and programs that would enhance employee and public safety, reliability and help reduce climate and weather-related risks and vulnerabilities, such as wildfire. Under his leadership, SDG&E was recognized as a best-in-class, award-winning reliability program enhancing customer satisfaction. During his tenure, Zaragoza helped lay the foundation for a more resilient grid by partnering with the public and private sectors, academia and government agencies to accelerate investments in technologies, practices, and policies. Some examples include the development and deployment of America’s largest utility-owned weather network, deploying major capital projects, and working to become the first utility in the nation to obtain FAA approval to test fly Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) in select test areas.