SDG&E to improve downtown San Diego energy reliability with new substation

Sep 7, 2006

Media Contact:
Peter Hidalgo

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


         SAN DIEGO, Sept. 7, 2006 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to construct a new 230,000-volt electrical substation to support the customer growth in the area of Downtown San Diego.  The new Silvergate substation will be located south of Downtown and will strengthen SDG&E’s energy-delivery system for area homes, schools and businesses.

        The $80 million substation will replace an older facility that was put into service more than 40 years ago and had reached the end of its useful service life.  The substation will provide electric power to the Downtown San Diego region, Barrio Logan and surrounding areas.

        “We are working hard to improve the reliability of our electric system to ensure that our customers have the energy they need, both now and in the future,” said James P. Avery, senior vice president-electric for SDG&E.  “We look forward to completing this project by the end of 2008.”

        The facility will ensure reliable power flows to the company’s current and future customers in the urban San Diego area.  Electric power will flow out of the substation using SDG&E’s underground 69,000-volt transmission-line system.  In addition, three 230,000-volt transmission lines will enter the new substation through underground vaults from a separate project currently under construction to install 52 miles of electric transmission lines.  These lines will create a loop around the San Diego region to provide more system reliability and access to energy produced at a proposed power plant in the Otay Mesa area.

        Transmission lines are used to move high-voltage electricity from power plants to neighborhood substations, where the energy is then “stepped down” to lower voltages in the station, and redirected to homes and businesses.

        By applying innovative substation design and construction techniques, work crews will build a conventional-technology substation in an urban area.  Several federal, state and local agencies, community groups and individual property owners took part in that process. 

        Another component of the Silvergate project will be to place an existing 138,000-volt overhead line underground and remove the existing lattice steel structures located along the bay front in the City of Chula Vista in support of the city’s redevelopment plans.

        In the coming years, SDG&E expects to add about 22,000 new customers a year throughout its service territory, which requires new power lines and related facilities, according to Avery.  The upgrading of existing equipment must occur while SDG&E accommodates significant customer growth and redevelopment efforts. 

        San Diego Gas & Electric is a full-service energy utility that currently serves 3.4 million consumers through 1.3 million electric meters and more than 825,000 natural gas meters.  The utility’s service area spans 4,100 square miles and serves customers in more than 125 communities from Southern Orange County to the Mexican border.  SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.  To learn more, go to