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POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: EARTH TO JERRY BROWN: SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

August 11, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise when Governor Jerry Brown appeared at the opening of the opening of the Suncrest Powerstation near Alpine July 27 and said “you have to crush the opposition” to giant wind and solar development projects. After all, a year and two days before that the Sacramento Bee reported that Brown had addressed a “renewable energy conference” in Los Angeles and used almost similar language to express his determination to get these mega-projects through no matter what the people who live nearby think of them. “In Oakland, I learned that some kind of opposition you just have to crush,” Brown said in July 2011. “Talk a little bit, but at the end of the day you have to move forward, and California needs to move forward with our renewable energy.”

 

MEDIA ADVISORY: TODAY, SDG&E TO ACTIVATE 'REDUCE YOUR USE' REWARD PROGRAM

August 9, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has called a ‘Reduce Your Use’ event day today due to hotter-than-average temperatures.

While SDG&E has adequate electricity resources to meet the demand, customers can help reduce strain on the electric grid by reducing their electricity use today between 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. By doing so, they will be eligible to earn a bill credit of $0.75 per kilowatt hour saved.

RATEPAYER ADVOCATES GROUP FINDS SDG&E REQUEST WOULD GOUGE RATEPAYERS TO PROFIT SHAREHOLDERS

 

DRA Says SDG&E’s cost of capital request is out of line with today’s market and unfair to customers

August 7, 2012 (San Francisco) – The Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), the independent consumer advocate within the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), on Monday presented evidence in the CPUC’s proceeding on Cost of Capital. DRA found that San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s (SDG&E) request for an 11.0% Return on Equity far exceeds both the company’s revenue needs and market standards.

 

DRA recommends that the appropriate Return on Equity (“ROE,” or the revenue that shareholders can expect to earn on their investment) should be 8.5%, which would result in a $50 million annual savings to SDG&E’s customers. [See Cost of Capital Comparison Chart]

READER'S EDITORIAL: SDG&E EXCLUDES FIRE SURVIVORS AND LOW-INCOME PEOPLE FROM FIRE MITIGATION GRANTS

Meeting August 7 in Deerhorn Valley on fire mitigation funds

By Kim Hamilton, Editor, Deerhorn Valley Antler

August 6, 2012 (Deerhorn Valley)--We are now well into a perilous fire season. SDG&E, in its guise as the “Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation Group,” has notified some 1,300 at-risk homeowners along the Powerlink that they are “potentially qualified to receive grant funds for the creation of defensible space or structure hardening...” Up to $2,000 per parcel is being made available on a yearly basis. Make no mistake: this is not done out of the goodness of their hearts. Nor will it eliminate the increased danger we now face from Powerlink. It was simply a requirement for approval. A “partial mitigation.”

We, the at-risk and soon-to-be-crushed (as our Governor threatened last week), need answers to some serious questions about these “grants”:

EDITORIAL: THE PEOPLE OUR GOVERNOR WANTS TO “CRUSH”

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

July 27, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Standing on a former mountaintop blasted away to build the new Suncrest Substation, Governor Jerry Brown yesterday  praised completion of  the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines—and denigrated 79,000 citizens who have fought against destroying our communities and scenic vistas.

“You have to crush the opposition,”  the Governor said forcefully, after joking that there were more dignitaries inside the celebration than people protesting down the street.

His words are unbecoming of our state’s highest official and an insult to the hard-working people of our region, most of whom couldn’t afford to take off work and attend a protest rally during the work day in this remote spot.  But their concerns are valid, heartfelt and deserve serious consideration, not hate or derision.

Let me tell you about some of those people our Governor wants to “crush.”

SDG&E CELEBRATES OPENING OF SUBSTATION NEAR ALPINE AND COMPLETION OF SUNRISE POWERLINK

Outside, protesters object to Powerlink and more power projects planned for region

By Miriam Raftery

July 27, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – “That snap, crackle and pop is the sound of success,’ SDG&E president and chief financial officer Michael Niggli declared, referring to the noises emanating from high voltage lines at the newly completed Suncrest Substation.

 Atop a former mountaintop blasted away for the project’s construction, Governor Jerry Brown  and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined with energy industry executives to celebrate what they view as a milestone in meeting the state’s ambitious renewable energy goals.

PROTEST PLANNED AT SDG&E’S SUNRISE POWERLINK SUBSTATION “CELEBRATION” THURSDAY IN EAST COUNTY

 Governor Brown to be present at event

July 25, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—Opponents of Sunrise Powerlink and massive industrial energy projects proposed to tie into the line are encouraging the public to join a protest on Thursday, July 26 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. 

While SDG&E's invited dignitaries including Governor Jerry Brown celebrate completion of the new Suncrest Substation just east of Alpine, protesters will gather outside at Interstate 8 and Japatul Valley Road just east of Alpine.

POWER OUTAGE AT GROSSMONT MEDICAL CENTER

 

July 25, 2012 (La Mesa) – Patients, some in walkers and wheelchairs, were dismayed to learn that a power outage has forced evacuation of the five-story medical office building #3 at 5565 Grossmont Center Drive.  

A spokesperson at the property management company told ECM that power may not be restored until after 5 p.m. tonight.

Power was also out briefly at buildings #1 and #2, but has been restored. The outage was first reported by Incident Page Network, confirmed by ECM at the scene.

POWER OUTAGE PLANNED IN LA MESA JULY 28 AND AUGUST 4

 

July 23, 2012 (La Mesa) – SDG&E announces a power outage is scheduled for Saturday, July 28 at 3:00 am lasting up to four hours and a second power outage on Saturday, August 4 at 2:30 am lasting up to five hours  in La Mesa. The outage will affect the following streets:  

CONFLICT OF INTEREST CONCERNS RAISED OVER PLANNERS' TIES TO COGENTRIX LOBBYIST AS VOTE NEARS ON QUAIL BRUSH POWER PLANT

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 19, 2012 (San Diego)  At  9 a.m. today, the San Diego Planning Commission will hold an important vote to determine whether to rezone open space to industrial land in order to allow a proposed natural gas-fired power plant to be built next to Mission Trails Regional Park.

DOG TEAMS SEARCH FOR NATIVE AMERICAN REMAINS IN MCCAIN VALLEY , OCOTILLO AND JACUMBA

 

Canines identify dozens of sites in path of wind and power line projects

 

Wind developers “cooperate” with tribes on searches-- but SDG&E refuses to allow dogs on its ECO-Substation site

 

 

Story by Miriam Raftery

Photos by Tom and Nadin Abbott, Miriam Raftery, and Jim Pelley

July 18, 2012 (McCain Valley) – Weaving across cactus-studded terrain in McCain Valley, Piper, a border collie trained to find ancient human remains, pauses to sniff the ground.  Ears erect, he sits, alerting handler Lynne Engelbert, who records the GPS coordinates. (Click video to view.) Minutes later, Piper’s find is independently confirmed by a second search dog.

LOCAL ENERGY COOPERATIVE AIMS TO GIVE CONSUMERS A CHOICE, OFFER COMPETITION TO SDG&E

 

“Green” power would come entirely from rooftop solar and other urban sources--not industrial wind or desert solar

By Miriam Raftery

July 15, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –What if you didn’t have to buy power from SDG&E, but could purchase electricity from a local energy cooperative instead? 

Suppose the power was generated all from renewable energy--no oil, gas or nuclear?  Better yet, all of that renewable power would come from urban sources such as rooftop and parking lot solar--and you could get incentives to put solar on your home or business.  

Now envision this "green" advantage as a member of the co-op--you could earn credits by selling your excess solar power. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE: SDG&E FAILS TO PROVIDE MITIGATION FUNDS FOR FIRE SEASON—AFTER ENERGIZING POWERLINK AND RAISING FIRE DANGER

 

By Catherine Gorka, Lakeside

July 10, 2012 (Lakeside)--Many residents of the East County /back county have received a letter from the Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation Grants Program telling us about the  grant program. 

The funds for  this program should have been given out prior to the line being energized.  Instead, funds if approved will not be given out till work is done, and grant money will not even be approved until the end of August -- well into high fire danger season.  

BRIGHT IDEAS: ENERGY INNOVATION CENTER LIVES UP TO ITS STANDARDS

 

 
By  Janis Mork
 
July 10, 2012 (San Diego)-  ECM toured SDG&E’s new Energy Innovation Center at Clairemont Mesa, designed to be a demonstration facility and educational center, led by supervisor Ellery Stahler. We found an array of creative ideas and cool technologies that you can utilize to save energy and conserve resources in your home and garden.

 

SDG&E TO AWARD $1 MILLION IN GRANTS TO LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMPIONS

 
Applications now being accepted
 
July 6, 2012 (San Diego) -- As part of its 2012 Environmental Champions Initiative, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced that it will contribute $1 million to local environmental non-profit organizations in San Diego County and south Orange County.

CPUC APROVES SDG&E’S ECO-SUBSTATION IN EAST COUNTY

 

June 24, 2012 (San Diego) -- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) this week approved San Diego Gas & Electric's (SDG&E) East County (ECO) Substation Project, a development that involves two electric substations along SDG&E's Southwest Powerlink transmission line.

SDG&E ENERGIZES SUNRISE POWERLINK


117-mile, 500,000-volt transmission line improves electricity reliability, but increases concerns over fire safety for region

 June 21, 2012 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)  announced June 18 that it had completed and put into service Sunrise Powerlink, a 500,000-volt transmission line linking San Diego to Imperial Valley.  

“Putting the Sunrise Powerlink into service is the final milestone in a complex and challenging energy project that ranks among the largest and most significant in the history of San Diego Gas & Electric,” said Jessie J. Knight, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of SDG&E.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

 
June 21, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County)--East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include: 
 
 
 
 
  
 
LOCAL
  • Regional Chamber of Commerce paints hopeful picture of economic recovery (Ramona Patch)
  • SD Unified bringing back all laid off teachers (Voice of San Diego)
  • Switching on SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink (UTSanDiego)
  • New initiative launches in San Diego to reclaim science’s role in policy decisions (KPBS)
  • Helix leader Rani Goyal got $56,000 severance in settlement deal (La Mesa Patch)
  • The Starting Line: SDG&E’s Trojan Horse (San Diego Free Press)
  • UT CEO’s last media company sold interviews (CityBeat)
  • Man fatally stabbed in unincorporated La Mesa (La Mesa Patch)
STATE 
  • California Dems resist Gov. Brown’s welfare plans (San Jose Mercury News)
  • California schools facing shorter year (Sacramento Bee)
  • Viewpoint: Voters have a right to know how much loopholes are costing state (Sacramento Bee)

THE SAN DIEGO FREE PRESS IS RE-BORN

June 20, 2012 (San Diego)--A brand new online news and commentary daily has appeared in San Diego. It's the San Diego Free Press - SanDiegoFreePress.org - and was launched by the OB Rag (obrag.org) last week.  It aims to provide progressive views and neighborhood news. 

OLD FIRE 100% CONTAINED: ELECTRICAL RULED OUT AS CAUSE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated June 21, 2012: The Old Fire is now 100% contained at a cost of approximately $2.3 million

June 20, 2012 (Campo) – The Old Fire has charred 995 acres and is now 90% contained.  One residence burned, as well as a recreational vehicle (RV).  Cause remains under investigation, however electrical and lighting have been ruled out. There are no electrical lines near the origin of the blaze on the Campo Indian Reservation, nor were there any reports of lightning, Cal Fire reports.

SANTEE POWER PLANT: TO BE, OR NOT TO BE

 
By David Secor, Candidate, 50th Congressional District
June 19, 2012 (Santee) -- Oh, NO! Shakespeare? No, this isn’t Hamlet’s question, it’s ours.

Will the people, the businesses, and the local governments who all know it’s the right thing to do, stand up and take the actions necessary to stop the proposed Quail Brush power plant. (In what follows, I borrowed the italicized words from Bill.)

TRANSFORMER FIRE AT SITE OF NEW POWERLINK IN ALPINE

 Updated June 20, 2012 to include SDG&E's response

By Miriam Raftery

June 18, 2012 (Alpine) – A transformer fire broke out this afternoon at the site of the new Sunrise Powerlink, where the high voltage line had just been energized, Incident Page Network reports. 

“I can confirm that two transformers are on fire,” said Lori Bledsoe, editor at The Alpine Sun.  The transformers are taking power from the underground portion of the Powerlink and transferring the electricity into overhead lines, she added.

HUNDREDS WITHOUT POWER IN WILDFIRE AREAS; BLAZE NOW 450 ACRES AND SPREADING RAPIDLY

 

UPDATE July 18, 2012:  SDG&E has informed ECM that the Old Fire was not started by Sunrise Powerlink.  “The fire started on June 17 near Miller Valley,” Hanan Eisenman, communications manager, stated in an e-mail received June 18.  “At the closest point, Sunrise is two miles away. Therefore, this has nothing to do with the Sunrise Powerlink.” 

 Cause of the fire, which is now over 820 acres, remains under investigation, per Cal Fire.

 

Update 10:05 p.m.: This fire is now 450 acres, spreading rapidly. an estimated 150 homes are threatened and the blaze is zero percent contained.  A travel trailer has been destroyed. 

Road closures: Old 80 x La Posta rd, Old 80 x Crestwood, Hwy 94 x Church Rd, and Crestwood  2 miles east of Golden Acorn Casino.  There are 15 engine, 2 handcrews, 1 dozer, 4 airplanes, and 3 helicopters assigned. A shelter has been set up at Golden Acorn Casino.  A Cal-Fire spokesman told ECM there is room in the parking lot for trailered livestock as well. An earlier report that Golden Acorn had evacuated proved incorrect.

 June 11, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Approximately 443 households are without power as a 450-acre wildfire rages in or near their communities, ECM has learned. 

Is it just coincidence that earlier today, electricity was switched on to the 500 kilovolt (kv) Sunrise Powerlink for the first time, as UT San Diego reported today? 

At 2:53 p.m., SDG&E’s website states that “a combination of factors has caused a problem with a substation.” 

According to Cal-Fire, the wildfire, called the Old Fire, began around 3 p.m. 

READER'S EDITORIAL: WHY SMART METER OPT-OUTS SHOULD BE FREE

 

By Susan Brinchman 

June 15, 2012 (La Mesa)--It has been one month since the opt-out officially began for SDG&E customers. The beginning appeared "rocky", with misinformation and long waits on the phone reported by customers wishing to opt-out. People who decry smart meters are understandably upset with the costs, and this has led to many not wishing to opt-out. Those who don't know why an opt-out might be desirable become very disinterested when they hear of the costs. It is important to know that an email has surfaced (through FOIA submitted by another party) from the CPUC to CA utility contacts that suggested fixing a penalty-type fee for opting out, in order to discourage people from opting out. PG&E reportedly conducted surveys to determine how many might opt-out if there was such a fee, at varying amounts. If free, 40% would opt-out.

AS SUMMER HEATS UP, SIGN UP FOR POWER GRID FLEX ALERTS

 
ISO asks media partners to promote electricity conservation, especially in Southern CA

June 15, 2012 (Folsom) -- The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) is making it easier for media and the public to track power grid conditions and conserve electricity, if necessary. The real-time information is just a click away thanks to new web tools on the ISO homepage:  http://www.caiso.com.

EMERALD WANTS SDG&E DOLLARS TO FUND FIRE/RESCUE DEFICIENCIES

 

June 13, 2012 (San Diego) -- San Diego Gas and Electric has agreed to pay the City of San Diego $27 Million to settle a lawsuit over the 2007 wildfires.  Councilmember Marti Emerald is asking the Mayor to reinvest this cash windfall back into public safety. 
 
The councilmember recommends spending $18 million to design and build critically needed fire stations, citywide, as recommended last year in the Citygate Report on San Diego’s emergency preparedness.

 

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

 

 
June 14, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County)--East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include: 
 
 
 
 
LOCAL
  • Carlton Oaks land agreement will connect Mission Trails to River Trail (Santee Patch)
  • Victim in fatal Alpine crash was to graduate from UCSD (UT San Diego)
  • La Mesa Spring Valley School District faces negative bond rating (San Diego Reader)
  • Giant SDG&E line sparks rural activism (UT San Diego)
  • A closer look at executive pay at Sempra, Qualcomm and other companies (UT  San Diego)
  • The local newspaper makes national news- NYT criticizes UT San Diego for using newspaper as pulpit for business interests (Voice of San Diego)
 
STATE
  • ‘Third strike’ and GMO foods labeling initiatives qualify ballot (Sacramento Bee)
  • Sacramento leaders eye pension changes, sales tax (Sacramento Bee)
  • Election officials: get used to uncounted ballots (Sacramento Bee)
  • California likely to need to cut spending more (Reuters)
  • California Highway Patrol Officers  union agrees to monthly furlough (Sacramento Bee)  
 
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

 

TRANSFORMER FIRE IGNITES VEHICLE, SHUTS DOWN POWER AND CONFINES RESIDENTS TO THEIR HOMES IN EL CAJON

June 12, 2012 (El Cajon) 9:35 a.m. – Power remains out in parts of El Cajon following a transformer fire this morning. Heartland Fire & Rescue crews in El Cajon responded to reports of a transformer fire in the 200 block of Lincoln Avenue in El Cajon. As crews arrived, they found not only the transformer fire, but downed power lines and a resulting vehicle fire. 

HIGH-POWER LIVING: SOLAR FUELS HOUSE AND VEHICLE FOR LOCAL COUPLE—WITH ALL THE COMFORTS OF HOME

 
“It’s just the right thing to do.” – Gene Dolphin

How Kathy and Gene Dolphin walk their talk every day
 
By Faith Attaguile
 
June 11, 2012, (San Diego) -- When the energy “crisis” hit California in 2001, Kathy and Gene Dolphin got angry.
The roving blackouts and triple-digit rate increases in California caused by Enron’s market manipulations tipped the scales. The soaring electric bill pushed them over the edge.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

 
 
April 25, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County)--East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media.  This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:  
 
 
 
 
LOCAL
  • Grossmont District deals with layoffs for 2012-13 (UT San Diego)
  • Fundraiser for missing hiker search efforts (CBS 8 News)
  • DeMaio and Fletcher heat up mayoral debate (UT SanDiego)
  • Heated exchange highlights SD Mayoral debate (10 News)
  • City attorney threatens to squeeze legal fees out of civic watchdog (CityBeat)
  • Controversy, dispute envelop Palomar College construction site at Indian burial ground (OB Rag)
  • Group launches effort to recall Sweetwater school trustees (UT San Diego)
  • SDG&E avoids shutdown of Powerlink helicopters (UT San Diego)
  • Getting to the bottom of city issues (La Mesa Today) 
  • El Cajon Nixes Chickens (UT San Diego)
  • Council refuses to sign PBID petition (La Mesa Today)
 
STATE
  • Measure to repeal death penalty in CA qualifies for ballot (Sacramento Bee)
  • Social media password bill advances in state Senate (Sacramento Bee)
  • Steinberg to push California for initiative changes (Sacramento Bee) 
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.
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