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Some residents and city leaders have argued that the historic building that sits in front of San Juan's SDG&E substation needs to be preserved rather than demolished. Photo: Allison Jarrell
The historic building that sits in front of San Juan’s SDG&E substation. Photo: Allison Jarrell

By Allison Jarrell

After continuing the discussion on Oct. 27, the California Public Utilities Commission could make its final decision on the location of San Diego Gas & Electric’s South Orange County Reliability Enhancement (SOCRE) project at its Dec. 15 meeting in San Francisco.

The $91 million SOCRE project is a proposal by SDG&E to expand its current substation in San Juan Capistrano’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.

In April 2016, a Final Environmental Impact Review for the project was released, which included a new “environmentally superior” project option, called Alternative J. Rather than expanding in San Juan, the alternative involves the expansion of SDG&E’s existing Trabuco substation in Laguna Niguel.

San Juan Capistrano city officials oppose the substation expansion in town due to its proximity to residents’ homes, while Laguna Niguel and SDG&E officials argue that the alternative Trabuco expansion would cost $100 million more and would require using eminent domain to remove two businesses from the city.

The Dec. 15 CPUC meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. To read more about the proposed expansion, or to view a webcast of the meeting, visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

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