News Release


DATE: May 18, 2007

CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108 



SAN DIEGO - San Diego Gas and Electric is attempting an end run around California’s transmission line permitting process by seeking to include the route of its controversial Sunrise Powerlink as a “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor,” County Supervisor Dianne Jacob told representatives from the Department of Energy at a public hearing on Thursday.

The special designation would give federal regulators the power to step in and overrule the State if the Sunrise proposal is rejected. The California Public Utilities Commission is expected to rule on the project early 2008.    

“The Department of Energy should not steal energy transmission planning from the hands of California stakeholders and pile on yet another layer of costly, duplicative, bureaucratic review,” Jacob told the afternoon crowd.

“Instead, the Department should consider disturbing questions surrounding the case for the Sunrise, questions that negate the need for the Corridor Designation for San Diego County,” Jacob said. 

Citing a 2006 decision by a three-judge arbitration panel, which determined that SDG&E’s parent company, SEMPRA energy, created artificial congestion on the region’s existing 500 kV transmission line, Jacob said SDG&E’s congestion claims are suspect.

“For these Enron-style shenanigans, Sempra paid $70 million in fines to the State of California,” Jacob said and urged Federal officials not to base energy policy on what Jacob said was a case of “phantom congestion.”

Jacob said while the utility attempts to portray Sunrise as a lifeline to renewable energy resources in Imperial County, it engages in hypocritical activities that are counterproductive to the development of renewables.  

Jacob said SDG&E won’t commit in writing to bar power from Sempra-owned generation near the U.S. Mexico Border from traveling along the Sunrise Powerlink.  

“And last month, the utility lobbied heavily against a bill in Sacramento that would have increased the State’s renewable energy mandate to 33 percent by 2020. That’s 13 years from now,” Jacob said.