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SDG&E Plans $450M Jolt to Power Grid

The utility wants to initiate huge upgrades to local switching stations to keep the lights on in South County during disasters and maintenance.

By 2017, revamped switching stations in San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente will be pumping more voltage to power south OC's flat screens, fridges and stereos.

At least, that's San Diego Gas & Electric's plan--the blueprints and financing still need government approval.

"Even though we have energy-efficient appliances, we're using a lot more energy than we were 30 years ago," said SDG&E spokesman Duane Cave. "The population of Orange County went from 2 million to 3 million, but the electricity usage has gone from 190 megawatts to 490 megawatts."

The project also calls for two big backup conduits to ensure South County doesn't go black if the Talega switching station at the end of Pico gets whacked by an earthquake, or fire knocks out the station in San Juan, said SDG&E officials.

The utility held an open house at Mission San Juan on Wednesday afternoon to explain the project to the public--one of several public meetings SDG&E has in the pipeline related to the project.

The $450-million project is just now coming up for review by the California Public Utilities Commission. It will be 18 months to two years before workers start hauling their tools up in cherry-pickers, Cave said.

"All public meetings will be announced as the project goes on," Cave said.

SDG&E customers will pay a little more than 50 percent of the cost, while the rest will be shared by all of California's electricity customers because of the increase in voltage and reliability, Cave said.

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SJCNative February 10, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Instead of increasing the height to 130 feet of the new poles, why not put the lines underground. In the past 100 years that you have been in our City, I am sure you have been able to save enough money to pay for the cost of doing this
Diane Hennessy February 10, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Why are they worried about an earthquake in Talega when they don't seem to be worried about one at the Nuclear Power Plant????
SJCNative February 10, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Capistrano has really not grown any in the past seven years and is pretty much built out. Why is San Juan bearing the brunt of this change? It seems like our neighbors to the east (rancho mission viejo) would be much more suited for these powerlines. Why not just align it with the new toll road. Maybe the fees SDGE pays the toll road could make the toll road profitable.
desimal February 22, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Exactly right SJCNative
Diane Kraemer March 09, 2012 at 03:24 PM
This SDG&E proposed building is an architectural nightmare for SJC citizens. The new wall will be 10 feet higher than the existing building, and the new building will be 20 feet higher than that!! They want to use this site because they already own it. It would be much more appropriate in Talega or Rancho Mission Viejo. So sad that they are forcing this on us!

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