Chula Vista debates controversial proposed SDG&E power substation

Nearby residents say design is too big

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Chula Vista's City Council on Tuesday debated a proposed San Diego Gas & Electric substation planned for the city's southern bayfront.

SDG&E's design includes having power lines and poles above ground near the properties owned by Inland Industries. Those owners argued the design is too big and ruins their plans for future development.

SDG&E told 10News undergrounding those lines would cost upwards of $12 million.

"It really surprises me," said Torben Aabo, an engineer hired by Inland to examine the plans. He said undergrounding would cost less than $7 million. Aabo added it is a drop in the bucket when the entire project already costs $157 million.

"They have a lot of engineering," Aabo said, referring to SDG&E. "They have good engineers. They should be able to come up with the same conclusion that I came up with."

An SDG&E spokeswoman told 10News it was not the company's call. She said the state's Public Utilities Commission rejected Inland's low-profile design.

"I can't understand why they cannot underground that and go from a substation that looks like this," Aabo said, pointing at SDG&E’s submission. "… To a substation that looks like this," he concluded, pointing at Inland's design.

A public hearing began at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Chula Vista City Hall. A decision there could influence the CPUC's decision, which is expected Thursday.

Aabo told 10News money should not be an issue. He said he was one of the engineers who successfully convinced the CPUC to sign off on a $224 million deal to underground 3.5 miles of power lines in Chino Hills this July.

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