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Various Authors 3:49 p.m., Dec. 3
San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) filed an application for a South Bay Substation Relocation Project. The proposed project will replace the utility's aging 48-year-old facility in Chula Vista, providing substation access to newer 230 kv lines in the Otay Metro Power Loop. The application was received as filed by California's Public Utility Commission (CPUC) on June 16, 2010.
According to David Geier, SDG&E vice president for electric operations, "The Proposed Project will be built entirely within the service territory of SDG&E, and is not intended to compete with the projects of any other entity." Geier further requested that no CPUC hearings be held regarding the application, and is anticipating no protests to CPUC over the proposed project application.
A potential reason for protest is contained in Geier's comment that "SDG&E believes the Proposed Project will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment" during the demolition of the old site. According to Geier, SDG&E seeks to avoid the preparation of an environmental impact report on that belief.
With Geier anticipating no protests, SDG&E is requesting that no administrative law judge be assigned to the application process.
Previously, SDG&E was convicted of improper asbestos handling at the Lemon Grove demolition of the Encanto Gas Holder facility, where the senior federal environmental inspector in the western United States saw that demolition project as the worst case he had ever seen of friable asbestos production by supposedly knowledgeable utility supervisors and contractors in a residential area. A retrial of the 2007 conviction was dismissed in 2009, when the District Court failed to apply "more stringent" California standards to numerous asbestos bulk sample test results as required under the Clean Air Act's National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants at 42 USC 7412(d)(7).
Despite being filed during or after power interruptions that caused web outages of Intuit SaaS accounting software to small business customers, the SDG&E application contains no specific mention of inspection obligations for public utilities under the Sabotage Prevention Act, a potential source of future liability for Sempra Energy shareholders. Recently, BP shareholders received word of no further dividend payouts this year following the loss of the Deepwater Horizon and ongoing oil contamination in the Gulf of Mexico. Ineffective or lax federal inspections have been alleged in the BP Gulf disaster.
SDG&E's proposed Chula Vista work includes no plans for putting power lines underground.