Sunrise Powerlink wins approval from state power grid agency

SDG&E to file updated application for electric-transmission line

Aug 3, 2006

Media Contact:
Stephanie Donovan

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066


        SAN DIEGO, Aug. 3, 2006 – The agency responsible for managing California’s electricity system today said the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), is needed to keep the lights on in Southern California.  

        Today’s unanimous vote by the board of governors of the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) in support of the project marks a significant step forward in the process to get the new electricity “superhighway” between San Diego and Imperial counties licensed, built and in service June 2010.  By adding a third major transmission corridor in the San Diego area, the line will improve the overall reliability of the region’s energy network, according to SDG&E officials.

        “Today, SDG&E has only two major interconnections with the statewide power grid, because San Diego is an energy cul-de-sac,” said Debra L. Reed, president and chief operating officer of SDG&E.  “Our customers expect us to deliver reliable service – in the midst of hot weather or wildfires – without worrying about the chance of a blackout.  The Sunrise Powerlink will give us more transmission system flexibility in the future to keep delivering power under extreme conditions, as well as gain greater access to clean, renewable and affordable energy. ”

        The Cal-ISO has forecast an electricity shortfall for the San Diego region as soon as 2010, the target date for the Sunrise Powerlink to be put into service.  The line is designed to deliver 1,000 megawatts – enough electricity to supply about 650,000 homes.

        In determining the need for the Sunrise project, the Cal-ISO conducted an independent and extensive review and evaluation of other transmission alternatives.  Its conclusion: the Sunrise Powerlink solves the reliability problem for the San Diego region for 2010 and beyond, makes economic sense for customers and will help SDG&E and other California utilities meet the state’s renewable resources goals.

        SDG&E will file its amended project application for the Sunrise Powerlink tomorrow with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). 

        “We hope the CPUC will give appropriate weight to the Cal-ISO’s decision that this project is needed,” said Reed.  “The Commission has asked us to include the Cal-ISO’s need determination as part of our amended project application.  We expect the regulatory review process will begin soon, and look forward to a Commission decision by the middle of next year to keep us on track to get this project in service as soon as possible.”

        SDG&E’s filing also will include a report on its environmental analysis of the preferred and alternate routes for the line, as well as updated information on the project’s costs and economic benefits to customers.  The CPUC now will conduct its own environmental review and take the lead on gathering additional public comment before making a final decision on the need for the project and the route.  A final ruling by the CPUC is expected by the end of next year.
        San Diego Gas & Electric is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 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.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  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

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