Two days after the U-T’s fallacious editorial appeared, a group called Community Alliance for the Sunrise Powerlink, funded by SDG&E/Sempra, held a press conference to denounce project delays. Julie Meier Wright, cochair of the group, and also president of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, complained that the project won’t be finished until 2011 at the earliest. This is costing ratepayers $350,000 a day, she asserted, and it means the outdated South Bay Power Plant keeps belching pollution into the air. Shames says her statements were hogwash. Sempra’s economic assumptions for Sunrise have already been found unreliable by the utilities commission, he says. The $350,000 “is totally made up,” he says. And “it is a total fallacy that Sunrise is required in order for South Bay to be closed. Even if Sunrise is not operational until 2017, you don’t need South Bay to be operating.”
At the press conference, Wright plugged the U-T editorial. “Ratepayers pay for the intervenors,” she says she told the audience. Since there is already a Division of Ratepayer Advocates, “It’s an inherent conflict of interest. We pay for the delays, and we pay for the intervenors.” She claims she had not talked with Kittle before referring to the editorial. Shames thinks the editorial and press conference were orchestrated. I agree.
Meanwhile, Charles Langley of UCAN says the organization got “a tremendous surge of community support” as a result of the error-filled editorial. It brought in several new members. And some old members dropped their subscriptions to the U-T.