Editorial - SDG&E SHUT-DOWN THREAT FIRES UP BACKCOUNTRY OBJECTIONS

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By Donna Tisdale

La Mesa Fire Department

In
response to SDG&E's announced plans to shut off-power to "remote areas" during
high wind events:

SDG&E and their urbanite supporters want to run the Sunrise Powerlink
through the most HIGH RISK FIRE ZONES of our highly flammable backcountry.

In addition to the 500-1000 estimated turbines already proposed in this area,
SDG&E is also pushing to change the rules so they can install industrial
turbines (400-500 feet tall) on private property in Boulevard, too. Currently,
turbines are restricted to 80 feet in height with strict setback requirements.
Turbines malfunction and can spark fires with flaming oil and burning shreds
of plastic that drift to adjacent vegetation (google wind turbine fires). 

Neither the new line nor the energy will serve the backcountry. Yet, both
of SDG&E's big  500 KV lines will continue to move energy through our
backcountry communities while our smaller feeder lines are shut down leaving
most of us in the dark.

When the power goes out so do our well pumps and lots of older homes do not
have water storage tanks. Most of us have livestock to water, too. During the
2003 and 2007 fires, our area did not burn but the power lines did. We were
blacked out for an extended number of days. The local gas pumps did not even
have back up generation. I-8 was also closed down.

Many of our seniors and struggling families cannot afford a backup generator
or the fuel to run it. Even our volunteer fire department and emergency shelter
does not have a generator or fuel to run it.

Some of the howling wind events last for a week or more. In our area we still
have the old system installed by the Mountain Empire Co-op.

SDG&E should be spending money to upgrade and maintain what they have
now before they run around building more risky infrastructure that is not really
needed and will further jack up our utility rates.

Donna Tisdale
Boulevard

The opinions expressed in this editorial are the views of the author and
do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine or its publisher.