Welcome to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) website for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of the proposed construction of the San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) South Orange County Reliability Enhancement project (SOCRE project, or project). An application for this project was submitted to the CPUC on May 18, 2012 (Application A.12-05-020). The CPUC, through it’s Environmental Review Team, is conducting an environmental review of the SOCRE project. This site provides access to public documents and information relevant to the CEQA review process.
SDG&E has filed an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) with the CPUC for the SOCRE project to rebuild and upgrade a portion of its transmission infrastructure in South Orange County. In accordance with CEQA, the CPUC is the Lead Agency and is preparing an environmental review document to evaluate the proposed project. The environmental review will be conducted pursuant to the provisions of CEQA and CPUC procedures.
The purpose of the proposed SOCRE project is to increase the reliability and operational flexibility of SDG&E’s South Orange County 138-kilovolt (kV) system to reduce the risk of electrical outages. The project would also upgrade aging electrical infrastructure in the South Orange County area, including SDG&E’s Capistrano Substation in the City of San Juan Capistrano.
The existing 230-kV transmission network at SDG&E’s Talega Substation (located on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton) provides power for the South Orange County service area. Power supplied by the Talega Substation is transmitted to seven distribution substations —Capistrano, Laguna Niguel, Margarita, Pico, San Mateo, Rancho Mission Viejo, and Trabuco—over a 138-kV transmission network.
The SOCRE project would improve reliability by providing a second 230-kV power source to SDG&E’s South Orange County service area and modernizing aging infrastructure, including rebuilding the Capistrano Substation, which was constructed in the 1960s, and upgrading components of the Talega Substation. Once upgraded, “Capistrano Substation” would be renamed “San Juan Capistrano Substation.” The upgraded substation would accommodate two new 230-kV lines and two additional 138-kV lines that would be rerouted to the upgraded substation. An existing 138-kV line would be routed to Talega Substation.
A link to SDG&E’s website for the SOCRE project may be accessed here. This website includes additional information about the project including a ten-minute video overview of the project.
Components of the SOCRE project would include:
- Rebuilding and upgrading the existing 138/12-kV air-insulated Capistrano Substation (2 acres) as a 230/138/12-kV gas-insulated substation (6.4 acres) that will be named “San Juan Capistrano Substation;”
- Replacing a segment of a single-circuit 138-kV transmission line between the Talega and Capistrano substations with a new double-circuit 230-kV transmission line (7.5 miles), and relocating several transmission and distribution line segments (2 miles, combined) located near the two substations to accommodate the proposed 230-kV line; and
- Relocating a 12-kV distribution line into new and existing underground conduit and overhead on new structures from the proposed San Juan Capistrano Substation to Prima Deschecha Landfill (6 miles).
Approximately 140 transmission and distribution line structures would be removed and approximately 120 would be installed for this project. Approximately 0.30 mile of new right-of-way (ROW) would be acquired by SDG&E for the proposed transmission lines.
Construction of the SOCRE project is anticipated to begin in 2015 and would take approximately 5 years.
The components of the SOCRE project would be primarily located in existing SDG&E ROW within the cities of San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente as well as unincorporated Orange and San Diego counties. The existing 138-kV transmission line, which would be replaced by the proposed double-circuit 230-kV transmission line, crosses Interstate 5 (I-5) east of the Capistrano Substation, and then continues southeast to the Rancho San Juan residential development and Prima Deschecha Landfill. From there, the transmission line continues southeast through the City of San Clemente and unincorporated Orange and San Diego counties to the Talega Substation, located within U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and San Diego County.
In addition, a 12-kV distribution line would be installed in existing and new underground conduit and overhead on new and replaced structures, from Capistrano Substation in the City of San Juan Capistrano to the Rancho San Juan residential development and Prima Deschecha Landfill. Click here and here to see the location of the project components.
The CPUC conducts two parallel processes when considering development proposed by a regulated utility: an application process, in which the CPUC reviews the utility’s proposal (such as SDG&E’s CPCN application for the SOCRE project) and considers whether the project is needed and is in the public interest; and an environmental review process pursuant to CEQA. The CPCN application process focuses on utility ratepayer and public benefit issues, and is undertaken by the CPUC’s Administrative Law Judges Division.
The CEQA process for utility applications is led by the CPUC’s Energy Division, which will direct the Environmental Review Team and the preparation of the SOCRE project Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The EIR would describe the nature and extent of the environmental impacts of the SOCRE project and project alternatives, and would discuss mitigation measures for adverse impacts. Through the EIR process, the CPUC will determine whether the SOCRE project would result in significant impacts on the environment, and whether those impacts could be avoided or reduced to less than significant levels. The EIR will be used by the CPUC in conjunction with other information prepared for the CPUC’s formal record to act on SDG&E’s application. If, through the EIR process, the CPUC determines the project would result in significant environmental impacts that could not be mitigated to less than significant levels but still approves the project, the Commission’s decision on the application will include a Statement of Overriding Considerations that presents the economic, legal, social, and technological benefits, or other benefits, that outweigh the project’s impacts.
The CPUC has reviewed SDG&E’s application and Proponent’s Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the SOCRE project and, after the submittal of additional information by SDG&E, determined that the application and PEA are complete. The application and PEA, along with the CPUC’s requests for additional information and SDG&E’s responses to these requests are presented here to allow interested parties an opportunity for review.
SDG&E SOCRE Project Application A.12-05-020 (May 18, 2012)
SDG&E SOCRE Project Proponent’s Environmental Assessment (May, 2012) 82 MB
CPUC Deficiency Letter (June 15, 2012)
SDG&E Responses to CPUC Deficiency Letter (July 27, August 14, and August 16, 2012) 20 MB
CPUC Second Deficiency Letter (September 13, 2012)
SDG&E Response to Second Deficiency Letter (October 9, 2012)
CPUC Completeness Letter (January 7, 2013)
The CPUC published a Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an EIR on January 9, 2013, which whcih is available here in English and Spanish. Circulation of the NOP opened a public review and comment period on the scope of the CEQA document. All interested parties, including the public, responsible agencies, and trustee agencies, were invited to present comments about the SOCRE project and the scope of the EIR.
Please note that the public review and comment period for the NOP was extended and ended at 5:00 pm, February 22, 2013.
On January 23 and 24, 2013, the CPUC’s Energy Division conducted public scoping meetings for the SOCRE project in order to provide interested parties an opportunity to learn more about the project, ask questions, and submit comments:
|Wednesday, January 23, 2013||Thursday, January 24, 2013|
|San Juan Capistrano Community Hall|
25925 Camino Del Avion
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
|Bella Collina Towne and Golf Club|
200 Avenida La Pata
San Clemente, CA 92673
|Open House: 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.|
Presentation and Public Comment Session: 7:00 p.m.
The CPUC’s presentation from these meetings is available here. Materials available at these meetings
included English and Spanish language versions of the NOP and project fact sheets. The project fact
sheets may be accessed here:
SOCRE Project Fact Sheet No. 1 (English)
SOCRE Project Fact Sheet No. 1 (Spanish)
SOCRE Project Fact Sheet No. 2 (English)
SOCRE Project Fact Sheet No. 2 (Spanish)
During the NOP review period, written scoping comments may also be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the CPUC. After the NOP review period ends, the CPUC will prepare a scoping summary report, which will be available on this website.
As required by CEQA (CEQA Guidelines Section 15126.6(e)), the CPUC has identified, reviewed, and selected feasible project alternatives that would avoid or substantially lessen significant impacts of the project, while accomplishing most of the basic project objectives. These alternatives will be included for analysis in the EIR. Project alternatives were identified by the applicant in the PEA, formulated by the CPUC, and proposed during public scoping for the EIR. The CPUC has prepared an alternatives screening report which identifies and reviews (“screens”) 12 potential alternatives to the proposed project, and selects 11 of these alternatives (including the No Project alternative, which is required by CEQA) for further analysis in the EIR. The CPUC’s alternatives screening report is available here.
The Draft EIR and Final EIR for the project will be presented here, when available.
The results of the Commission decision on the project will be presented here, when available.
Reports issued by the CPUC, reports on construction progress, and reports issued as part of the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program will be presented here, when available.
To request additional information or to be added to the mailing list, please contact us by email, fax, or phone, as follows:
Project fax: 415-398-5326
Project voicemail: (855) 520-6799 (toll free)
The CPUC’s Project Manager is:
Andrew Barnsdale, CPUC Project Manager
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel.: (415) 703-3221
Fax: (415) 703-1758