Bob McPhail 5:30 p.m., May 25
Group Charges Imperial, SDGE Negotiated in Secret
The 54950 Commission, an Imperial Valley watchdog group, charged today (May 15) that the Imperial Irrigation District, negotiating with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) outside public view, effectively surrendered $14 million of reoccurring revenue and got nothing in return as part of the controversial Sunrise Powerlink project planned to bring power from Imperial Valley to San Diego. As a result, SDGE was permitted to bypass the irrigation district balancing authority and power lines. SDGE was permitted to build its own transmission facilities. According to a report by San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre and investigator Kevin Christensen, the water district and the utility first began discussing the alleged giveaway in December of last year. The public never learned of the discussions until the district voted on it months later. This offense is labeled "adverse domination" in the report. This occurs when a public entity is dominated by power players outside the duly constituted board.