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By Allison Jarrell

The City Council has already voiced its continued opposition to the recently approved San Diego Gas & Electric substation expansion, and next week the Council will consider dedicating more funding to that fight.

On Dec. 15, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve SDG&E’s proposal to expand its substation in San Juan Capistrano, as part of its South Orange County Reliability Enhancement (SOCRE) project. The SOCRE project will expand the current substation in San Juan’s residential Las Brisas neighborhood by rebuilding and upgrading a portion of its transmission infrastructure. The project aims to create a redundant electrical system that would rely on two substations rather than just the current facility in Talega.

On Dec. 19, the City Council voted unanimously in a special closed meeting to maintain opposition to the project and to pursue an application for rehearing, as well as a motion for a stay of the PUC’s administrative decision from last week. City Attorney Jeffrey Ballinger said that if the request is denied, the city would have the ability to file with the Supreme Court.

The Council was scheduled to discuss the matter in closed session on Jan. 12. During the Jan. 17 public meeting, the Council will consider modifying the scope of work of the law firm of Goodin, MacBride, Squeri & Day to continue assisting the city with “administrative review proceedings and litigation” regarding the SOCRE project.

That means allocating more funds from the city’s General Fund Reserves to retain those special legal services—an additional $25,000. The current approved budget for the extra legal services is $405,000, and according to the staff report, about $398,000 of those funds has been spent.

The Council’s Jan. 17 meeting begins at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

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