City, SDG&E in $120 million disagreement

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 20:43:22-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego Gas and Electric and the city of San Diego are in a disagreement that could be worth up to $120 million.

The controversy is over San Diego's Pure Water project, which would turn sewage into high treated drinking water. The city's goal is to have a third of its water supply be reclaimed water by 2035. 

To accomplish that, the city plans to build a $1 billion pipeline to pump sewage from the Morena area to the North City Water Reclamation Plant on the edge of Miramar.

On Thursday, the City Council voted 5-4 to approve about $1.1 billion for the project. But completing the pipeline would require SDG&E to remove its gas and electric lines. The city says SDG&E usually does that on its own dime, but this time - the utility says it will not spend the money. 

The City Attorney's office is now involved.

The council voted 8-1 to authorize $37 million this fiscal year, but is retaining its legal rights to recover the money. The city may have to spend another $86 million next fiscal year to complete the project.

In a statement, SDG&E says it supports the project but is working to protect its ratepayers.

"Our goals are to assist the City with their plans and ensure our customers, especially those outside City limits who will not benefit from the project, are not unfairly burdened with utility relocation costs," the statement said. 

The city hopes to begin advertising for construction for the pipeline next month.