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Underground issue comes to council Robert Moreno | Sat, Oct 05 2013 12:00 PM

Chula Vista City Council on Tuesday heard arguments by both San Diego Gas and Electric and community members regarding the highly contested undergrounding of a proposed substation.

SDG&E argued to City Council that the proposed substation project is out of their hands because decisions have to go through the California Public Utilities Commission.

“SDG&E does not have the discretion or authority unilaterally to add cost for project refinements to the project,” said

SDG&E Regional Vice President of External Affairs Frank Urtasun.

SDG&E made a proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission that included $23 million worth of undergrounding.

Urtasun also said allegations that SDG&E is not following a 2004 memorandum of understanding signed by the city and the company are not true.

“We believe we are in compliance with the 2004 MOU and we will not engage in further discussion today about this agreement,” he said.

Councilwoman Mary Salas said the public hearing helped clear misunderstandings among council, the public and SDG&E.

Salas said the public hearing also raised some issues on how SDG&E uses its 20A funds.

The funds are a portion of a customer’s bill that are paid each month. That money is then used to underground existing power lines.

“We asked for accounting information, and what they gave to the city was very limited and they were guarded about it,” Salas said. “SDG&E needs to be more accountable with their use of 20A funds.”

The council on Tuesday approved the city attorney to draft a resolution which would show the city’s commitment to the Bayfront Enhancement Fund Alternative.

This alternative does include undergrounding of the remaining 300 feet in question.

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