SDG&E to upgrade infrastructure in Orange County to improve reliability

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In a 5-0 vote, California Public Utilities Commission approved San Diego Gas & Electric's proposal to construct the 'South Orange County Reliability Enhancement' project that will substantially improve electric reliability to its customers in the southern portion of Orange County, while also enhancing public safety by providing greater protection against catastrophic events and other threats.

Over the last three decades the energy demand in the southern portion of Orange County has more than tripled, putting a strain on the power grid during peak times for customers. Designed with current and future energy needs in mind, this project will support the needs of residents and businesses, as well as technological advances that have taken place over the last half-century.

"Once completed, this project will modernize the electric grid by rebuilding a 1950s-era substation with advanced technologies designed to strengthen the reliability of the power grid and limit electric interruptions," said Caroline Winn, chief energy delivery officer for SDG&E. "Delivering reliable energy is vital to increasing the region's economic growth. Equally important is the fact that we are upgrading our infrastructure to minimize risk and enhance public safety."

The decision will allow SDG&E to improve its infrastructure to reliably serve the growing energy needs of homes and businesses for the next 50 years. The approval also allows for replacing select wood, steel and traditional lattice towers with new fire resistant, steel poles, improving overall public safety in the region.

The company's efforts to deliver the highest levels of safety and reliability for its customers and the community are being demonstrated across the region. Recently, the company began work in the Cleveland National Forest to replace about 2,100 existing wood poles with fire-resistant, weatherized steel poles. Once completed, this nearly $700 million, fire-safety enhancement project will ensure that the majority of the power lines in San Diego County's fire-threat zone will have been fire-hardened.

SDG&E also received the green light in October to construct a new transmission project that will improve overall system reliability, and is vital to meeting the energy needs of customers in communities in north-central San Diego, including Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch and the city of Poway. The project will also help integrate growing renewable energy being brought into the system.

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