SDG&E

DEBRA L. REED NAMED CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF SEMPRA ENERGY

 

July 5, 2010 (San Diego) -– The board of directors of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) announced that Debra L. Reed has been elected chief executive officer of the company and a new member of the company’s board.

Reed, 55, succeeds Donald E. Felsinger, who will continue in the role of Sempra Energy’s executive chairman until his planned retirement at age 65 in late 2012. Neal E. Schmale, president and chief operating officer of Sempra Energy, will remain in his current role until his planned retirement later this year.

 

FAA AND CPUC FIND SDG&E REPLACEMENT HELICOPTER “CAPABLE OF OPERATING SAFELY”


June 27, 2011 (Sacramento) – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today issued an update to its preliminary incident report on two 16,000 pound Sunrise Powerlink towers dropped by an air crane earlier this month.

 

According to the updated report, a new air crane has been provided by the manufacturer, Erickson. The new helicopter has undergone test  transporting and lifting heavy loads, and has now been approved to resume construction activities in East County.

FEDERAL JUDGE HEARS ARGUMENTS IN SUNRISE POWERLINK HEARING

June 23, 2011 (San Diego) – An attorney representing local groups opposed to Sunrise Powerlink presented arguments in U.S. District Court yesterday in San Diego, seeking  to halt construction of the line on lands in East County owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Stephen Volker represented the Protect Our Communities Foundation, Backcountry Against Dumps and the East County Community Action Coalition. Volker argued that the BLM’s environmental review was inadequate and that its approval of Powerlink will increase the number of acres of protected lands open to development from 51 acres to 41,000 acres in McCain Valley, a scenic federally owned wilderness area.

FOR THE BIRDS: NESTS FOUL POWERLINK CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE

 

 

June 18, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Nesting birds have accomplished what thus far, citizens opposed to the Sunrise Powerlink have not been able to manage: slowing down construction of the project. According to a newsletter sent by the Community Alliance for Sunrise Powerlink, some birds have sought to nest in construction equipment and in other works area, “significantly hampering construction.”

ECM SPECIAL REPORT: SKY CRANES HAVE HISTORY OF CRASHES

 

Massive helicopters used in heavy-lifting operations such as Sunrise Powerlink

By Miriam Raftery

June 16, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Acting on a tip from a caller who said he used to work under sky cranes during forest fire operations, ECM has conducted an investigation into the safety record of massive sky crane helicopters such as the Erickson S-64F sky cranes that dropped two 16,000-pound tower sections last week during construction of SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink.
 

 “One significant issue not being reported is the number of aircraft they, Erickson, have lost due to mechanical issues or operator error,” said the caller, who asked not to be identified but indicated he has worked on a ground crew under the aircraft and has never worked for any Erickson competitor.  He provided details on several specific accidents which an ECM investigation has independently verified.

CPUC REPORT HIGHLIGHTS SAFETY CONCERNS OVER DROPPED POWERLINK TOWERS

 

“That SDG&E would break rules and rush to put a faulty helicopter in the air again is just unconscionable...I continue to question the CPUC's monitoring of the project and again call on CPUC commissioners and the governor's office to closely evaluate these troubling events.” - Supervisor Dianne Jacob

 

SDG&E to replace helicopter and submit plan for operations in congested areas

 

FAA and CPUC approval required before resuming operations after utility found in violation of notification procedures

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

June 16, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – The FAA has suspended operations of the Erickson S-64F Sky Crane helicopter that twice dropped towers each weighing 16,400 pounds during hoist operations for SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink. A preliminary incident report released yesterday by California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) suggests a digital hook control system may be at fault. The agency also chastised SDG&E for violating requirements to keep regulators informed before returning the sky crane to service after the first accident.

FAA ISSUES STATEMENT ON SKY CRANE DROPPING POWERLINK TOWERS

 

June 16, 2011 (San Diego) The FAA has sent a written statement in response to an ECM inquiry for information on the two SDG&E Sunrise Powerlink towers dropped by a sky crane helicopter June 7 and June 10. The statement indicates a replacement helicopter has arrived in San Diego and will undergo tests Monday in Imperial County.

 

The FAA also indicates sky cranes are not certified to fly over occupied populated areas when carrying heavy loads.  The spokesman, Ian Gregor, later clarified in an e-mail that "a lift could occur over a populated area if that were absolutely necessary. However, nobody unessential to the operation could be on the ground below while the lift took place, and the lift could not take place directly over homes."

 

Below is the statement in full received this afternoon from Gregor, public information manager at the FAA Pacific Division:

WITNESS SAYS SDG&E TRIED TO HIDE EVIDENCE OF FALLEN POWERLINK TOWER & INTIMIDATED PHOTOGRAPHER



Supervisor Jacob seeks records on “investigation” by CPUC

By Miriam Raftery

Video by Jim Pelley

 

June 12, 2011 (Imperial Valley) – Jim Pelley, an Ocotillo resident, was taking his son to school on June 7th when he passed by a Sunrise Powerlink construction project where a tower was on the ground in preparation to be lifted into place. “There was nobody directing traffic,” he told ECM in an exclusive interview, adding that his wife took photos on her cell phone.



About half an hour later, while driving back on the same road, he and his wife came upon the scene of a crash where SDG&E’s sky crane helicopter had inexplicably dropped a 15,000 pound tower. Pelley started shooting photos. “One of the guys said `Hey, we’d appreciate if you wouldn’t take pictures until we clean this mess up,” he recalled.  When he refused to comply, Pelley said the employee held a hand up in front of his camera lens. “So I started shooting video,” he told ECM.

 

POWERLINK OPPOSITION LEADER TO SPEAK JUNE 16 IN EL CAJON

June 15, 2011 (El Cajon) – Laura Cyphert, a Cedar Fire survivor who co-founded the East County Community Action Coalition along with her husband, Milt, will provide an update on the legal battle against Sunrise Powerlink on Thursday, June 16 from 7-8:45 p.m.

 

OOPS! THEY DID IT AGAIN: SDG&E CHOPPER DROPS A SECOND TOWER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Dennis Richardson
June 10, 2011 (San Diego)—Just four days after its sky crane dropped a Sunrise Powerlink tower 200 feet, a second transmission line tower has toppled in the Imperial Valley.
 

Following last Monday’s accident, SDG&E promised in a press release that the company was “taking immediate steps…to investigate what occurred today in order to ensure that this does not happen again.”

 

But it did happen again. Today at 8 a.m.,  the Sun Bird Erickson Air Crane helicopter was placing the fifth of five towers near Plaster City when three of the helicopter’s four hooks released.  Dangling by just one hook, the 15,000 pound tower was lowered to the ground and released, where it tipped over.  Fourtunately, no one was injured in either incident.  But residents of East County, where construction of Powerlink is also underway, are voicing concerns over safety of workers and the public.

SDG&E HELICOPTER DROPS SECTION OF POWERLINK TOWER 200 FEET

 

June 7, 2011 (San Diego) -- San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has announced that its air crane helicopter was involved in an accident today during construction activities for Sunrise Powerlink in the Imperial Valley.  The Powerlink high-voltage transmission line is also under construction through several communities in East County.  

 

“This morning a section of a transmission tower carried by the helicopter fell approximately 200- feet to the ground outside SDG&E’s Plaster City Construction Yard near the shoulder of the Evan Hewes Highway,” a media statement released by the company indicated.  View a photo of the crash.

SDG&E SIGNS SOLAR CONTRACT WITH TENASKA

 

New solar factory in San Diego to create 450 local jobs and additional 1,000 indirect jobs

March 23, 2011 (San Diego) San Diego Gas & Electric has announced a 25-year contract for up to 150 megawatts of solar energy to be generated at the Imperial Solar Energy Center West’s proposed 1,057-acre solar energy facility near El Centro. 

In addition, Soitec announced its intention to build a new solar panel manufacturing factory in the San Diego region, creating 450 local jobs and more than 1,000 additional indirect jobs.

READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY IS OUR DRINKING WATER BEING SIPHONED OFF BY SDG&E FOR SUNRISE POWERLINK CONSTRUCTION?

 

An open letter to San Diego's Mayor and City Council

 

By John Pilch
President, San Carlos Area Council

 

March 22, 2011 (San Diego) --I'm intrigued by what's happening in the San Carlos Community with respect to water usage. While we're being advised of the continuing Stage 2 Drought Alert, the City of San Diego is selling water from two  hydrants on Lake Murray Blvd. West Frontage Road to the contractor who is constructing the Southwest Powerlink.

READER’S EDITORIAL: THE BUZZ OVER POWERLINK--WHY WE SHOULD SUPPORT WORKERS ON THE LINE

 

By Michelle Mann, Boulevard


“In a time of economic fallout it is nice that there are still jobs for good hard working Americans. That is what these guys are that are out building the power line.”

 

March 19, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) -- It is amazing to hear all the buzz about this new power line going in. It is astonishing how many people are trying to sabotage this project and oppose it. I would like to see all those people who are making such a stink about this project turn their power off. The only reason why these guys are out here building the power line is to provide power to those that are complaining.

EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS PROTEST ON STEPS OF SDG&E UPON NEWS THAT JUDGE CANCELS POWERLINK HEARING

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Ron Logan, Miriam Raftery, and Merton Gaudette

 

March 10, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Candy Jenkins was looking forward to seeing environmental evidence presented to a federal judge in San Diego on Monday. “I live on El Capitan Mountain,” said the Lakeside resident, who  alleges that SDG&E is building Sunrise Powerlink towers only 2,000 feet from an eagles’ nest. She has photos, and says the eagles are tagged and the locations documented by the County. “Towers weren’t supposed to be within 4,000 feet,” she said. “We’re bringing this out today in court.”

 

Told by this reporter that the hearing had been cancelled because Judge Michael Anello announced that he will be ruling on the written record only, Jenkins expressed shock. “It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “Whatever happened to democracy in America?”

JUDGE CANCELS POWERLINK HEARING; RALLY TO PROCEED OUTSIDE SDG&E TODAY AT 12:30

 

March 7, 2011 (San Diego) – A federal judge has cancelled a public hearing challenging Sunrise Powerlink. The trial was slated to begin today in downtown San Diego, but instead the judge has notified plaintiffs that he will be ruling based on the record.  The decision comes as a disappointment to Powerlink opponents, who say they looked forward to having their day in court.

Organizers of a “stop Powerlink” march to the courthouse have announced they will still hold a rally outside SDG&E headquarters today at 12:30 at 101 Ash Street, where speakers will include Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Michael Shamas, executive director of the Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN), and. Dave Elliot, tribal member of the Manzanita Band of Kumeyaay.

POWERLINK TRIAL STARTS IN SAN DIEGO: OPPONENTS PLAN MARCH FROM SDG&E HEADQUARTERS TO COURTHOUSE MARCH 7

 

 

March 3, 2011 (San Diego) – “Not a done deal. We are in court,” reads a flyer published by opponents of the Sunrise Powerlink project urging the public to join a march to the federal courthouse downtown, where the first federal lawsuit against the high-voltage line will be heard on March 7th.

 

A PIECE OF RESISTANCE: RATEPAYERS PROTEST POWERLINK IN ALPINE

 

$1.8 billion, the cost of the Powerlink, could fund 90,000 individual 5kW systems which would generate nearly a half million kW (450,000 kW) per hour, opponents say.

 

Story and photos by Ron Logan

March 1, 2011 (Alpine) – Tuesday morning, Sempra Energy and SDG&E encountered more pushback to their Sunrise Powerlink construction in downtown Alpine.

 

The Powerlink construction, which will take about two years to construct and is scheduled for completion in 2012, has drawn criticism at every step of the process, including hundreds of Alpine residents who have turned out at past hearings to voice overwhelming opposition to the project.

CA SUPREME COURT REJECTS UCAN APPEAL, SIDES WITH SDG&E ON POWERLINK

 

 

February 24, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Supreme Court has denied without comment an appeal filed by Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN), which sought to stop the Sunrise Powerlink project on the basis that it violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

SECOND LAWSUIT IN MONTH FILED OVER POWERLINK;

 

 

February 11, 2011 (San Diego). – Legal troubles are mounting for San Diego Gas and Electric's proposed "Sunrise Powerlink" transmission line with the filing of a new lawsuit this week by three local organizations against California's State Water Resources Control Board. The lawsuit was filed in California State Superior Court in Sacramento.

SDG&E OFFERS SAFETY ADVICE AFTER FAMILY IS ELECTROCUTED BY DOWNED POWER LINE

 

January 27, 2011 (San Diego)— Earlier this month in San Bernardino County, three members of a family were electrocuted when they came in contact with a downed power line owned by Southern California Edison. According to news reports, the husband was the first one to approach the downed line, which had fallen into the family’s backyard. His wife and son also were killed when they tried to rescue him from the energized line.

 

“This tragedy serves as a reminder that you should never touch a downed power line and always should assume that any power line is ‘live’ and electricity is flowing through it,” said David L. Geier, vice president of electric operations for SDG&E.

3 LOCAL GROUPS FILE SUIT TO BLOCK SUNRISE POWERLINK ON FEDERAL LANDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 15, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Three local organizations and an East County land use issues expert have filed a lawsuit against five federal agencies. The suit alleges that the agencies approved SDG&E’s planned Sunrise Powerlink transition line in violation of environmental regulations—in some cases, making decisions based on the original route through the Anza Borrego Desert, instead of the revised southern route through numerous East County communities.

 

The suit makes other contentions, notably that key decision makers ignored fire danger and failed to consider the collective impact on public lands in East County, where several wind farms are planned as well as Powerlink in some wilderness areas.  In addition, plaintiffs claim that some decisions were made before completion of studies on endangered species and that once completed, those studies found the project could threaten endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and other species.

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