Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Cabrillo-Santa Ynez Reconductoring Project

Welcome to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) website for the environmental review of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) proposed Cabrillo-Santa Ynez Reconductoring Project (Project). The proposed Project would improve transmission system reliability and provide peak-period voltage support to the Lompoc, Solvang, Buellton, and Santa Ynez service areas. This proposed project includes replacing existing single circuit conductors with upgraded non-specular conductors along a 115 kilovolt (kV) power line, and replacing 125 existing wooden poles with light-duty steel poles.

The objective of the proposed Project is to provide high-quality, reliable service to customers along the existing Cabrillo-Santa Ynez 115 kV power line. Within the last year, this line segment experienced several outages due to conductor deterioration. The current configuration of this line segment, as well as the regional climate, contributed to the accelerated deterioration of this power line. Installing upgraded conductors and replacing existing poles would substantially improve the long-term reliability of this line segment, as well as service to the area.

The proposed Project is subject to review under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The CPUC is the CEQA Lead Agency on this Project. A CEQA review will be performed to evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with this Project. This website provides access to public documents and information relevant to the CEQA environmental review process.


PG&E’s Application and PEA (Proponent’s Environmental Assessment) for the Santa Ynez-Cabrillo Reconductoring Project may be viewed here.

Project Description

PG&E proposes to replace and upgrade infrastructure for an existing 115 kV transmission line servicing four cities and surrounding areas:

  • Lompoc
  • Solvang
  • Buellton
  • Santa Ynez

The project area spans a region from PG&E’s Cabrillo Substation in Santa Barbara County, on the eastern side of Lompoc near State Route 1 (SR-1), to PG&E’s Santa Ynez Switching Station, north of the city of Buellton, along United States Highway 101 (US 101). This 14.6-mile long segment serves over 14,000 customers, and it is part of a larger 80 mile 115 kV transmission loop that services over 71,000 customers.

The proposed project consists of replacing the existing single-circuit of 4/0 All Aluminum Conductors (AACs) with a 715 Multi-Chip Model (MCM) AAC, non-specular conductors, on approximately 14.1 miles of the existing 14.6-mile long power line. PG&E would replace 125 existing wood poles (currently holding the 4/0 AACs) with new light-duty steel poles along the same segment of the 115 kV power line. Since the existing poles cannot be removed before new poles are in-place, the new poles will be installed typically within approximately 5 feet from the existing wood poles. The pole and conductor replacement will be within PG&E’s existing 40-foot ROW. No work will be required within substations or switching yards.

The purpose of the proposed project will:

  • Improve transmission system reliability by replacing deteriorating line and hardware;
  • Improve transmission system reliability by replacing aging structures; and
  • Provide increased voltage support, ensuring sufficient voltage for peak operating conditions.

The Project objectives do not include a capacity increase in megawatts(MW). The new aluminum conductor proposed for the line addresses coastal climate deterioration and voltage support issues.

Environmental Review

PG&E’s Application and PEA were deemed complete by the CPUC on August 6, 2009. The CPUC determined that an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) will be the appropriate CEQA document to evaluate potential environmental issues associated with this project. The Draft IS/MND was published on January 8, 2010.

Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration

On January 8, 2010, the CPUC released a Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the Cabrillo-Santa Ynez 115kV Reconductoring Project. The Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) demonstrates the proposed project, as mitigated, would not have any significant effects on the environment.

The Draft IS/MND can be viewed here (56 MB).

Public Informational Meeting

To help affected communities understand the project and the proposed Draft IS/MND, and explain how the public can participate in the CPUC’s decision-making process, the CPUC will hold an information meeting at the Buellton Elementary School’s Multipurpose Room (595 Second Street, Buellton, CA 93427) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on January 20th, 2010. This informal meeting will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions about the content of the Draft IS/MND and submit written or oral comments.

**UPDATE - Public Informational Meeting CANCELLED**

The public meeting scheduled for January 20th, 2010, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Oak Valley Elementary School to discuss the Cabrillo-Santa Ynez 115 kV Reconductoring Project, has been cancelled due to unanticipated inclement weather in the local area. A summary of the project description and a map detailing the general project area can be viewed here.

Comments and questions on the project will still be accepted until 5 p.m. February 8, 2010. Please send comments to:

Billie Blanchard, California Public Utilities Commission
c/o RMT, Inc.
4 West 4th Avenue, Suite 303
San Mateo, CA 94402
Voicemail: (650) 340-4870
Fax: (650) 373-1211


Final Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration

Comments on the Draft IS/MND were submitted to the CPUC during the Draft IS/MND public review period ending on February 8, 2010. The CPUC’s responses to comments are presented in Chapter 5 of the Final IS/MND. The Final IS/MND was published on March 17, 2010. The Final IS/MND maintains the conclusion of the Draft IS/MND; the proposed project would not have a significant effect on the environment.

The Final IS/MND can be viewed here (60 MB).


Mitigation Monitoring, Compliance, and Reporting Plan

A Mitigation Monitoring, Compliance, and Reporting Plan (MMCRP) was prepared to ensure compliance with mitigation measures approved in the Final IS/MND. This MMCRP was developed to provide guidelines and standardize procedures for environmental compliance on the project. The procedures were developed in coordination with PG&E, CPUC, and RMT to help define the reporting relationships, provide detailed information about the roles and responsibilities of the project’s environmental compliance team members, define compliance reporting procedures, and to establish a communication protocol.

The MMCRP can be viewed here (6 MB).

For Additional Information

The CPUC, through its Environmental Review Team, is conducting an environmental evaluation of the proposed project. To request additional information or to be added to the mailing list, please contact us by email, fax, or phone, as follows:

Project email:
Project fax number: (650) 373-1211
Project voicemail: (650) 340-4870

The CPUC’s Project Manager is:

Billie Blanchard, CPUC Project Manager
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue, 3rd Floor
San Francisco CA 94102
Tel: (415) 703-2068
Fax: (415) 703-2200

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