Randy Lubert, San Juan Capistrano
For some time now, San Diego Gas & Electric has been throwing a considerable amount of money around San Juan Capistrano and surrounding communities in order to slam through their San Juan Capistrano substation “enhancement”—a lot of money. This has been an aggressive lobbying campaign to convince local and neighboring residents and businesses, as well as the California Public Utilities Commission, that this project in San Juan Capistrano is critical for reliability. What a sham.
The reason SDG&E is so fixated on this substation redevelopment rests squarely on their bottom line. They reviewed several alternatives and it evidently proved far cheaper for them to retrofit the existing Camino Capistrano substation rather than to move it to the area that the upgrade will most benefit—the planned 14,000 residences and commercial centers to the east, which is not located in the city of San Juan Capistrano. Alternative F—an option SDG&E rejected because of cost—places the substation squarely where it belongs—in Rancho Mission Viejo, with its vast open space. Very soon, this area will sport an intense electrical appetite, which will require feeding. This is code for “reliability.”
The existing San Juan Capistrano substation is located within a densely populated residential area. Aside from the health dangers that this “enhancement” will rain down upon the community, the city will be forced to endure the ill effects of more than five years of construction delays on Camino Capistrano, the main traffic artery serving the city. If completed, the San Juan Capistrano skyline will feature several 50-foot-tall concrete megaliths protected by a 10-foot-high and 360-foot-long wall, providing a very unwelcoming gateway statement for visitors and residents alike.
SDG&E is spending a lot of lobbying money so that they can save a lot more money. It is a travesty that this utility and its supporters place profitability ahead of what is in the best interests of our city and its residents. Instead, SDG&E should spend their money on relocating the substation to the new town that it is intended to best serve. Again, Alternative F.
SDG&E, do the right thing and move this project out of San Juan Capistrano.