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PG&E completes San Francisco transmission line

10 April 2006 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company has released into service a new underground transmission line in San Francisco, bringing the utility closer to its goal of closing its last San Francisco power plant.

The Potrero-Hunters Point Cable is a 115 000-volt transmission line that improves electric reliability and increases electric capacity in San Francisco. Built at a cost of about $40m, the Potrero-Hunters Point Cable spans 2.5-miles and is entirely underground, connecting two large substations in southeast San Francisco. Construction on the line began in June 2005.

The Potrero-Hunters Point Cable is the second-to-last of nine transmission projects PG&E has completed in its effort to obtain California Independent System Operator approval to terminate the must-run contract for the Hunters Point Power Plant. The California ISO has required PG&E to run the plant to assure continued reliable electric service in the region, but completion of the transmission projects will allow PG&E to maintain reliable service without the plant.

The final transmission project, the Jefferson-Martin 230-kv Transmission Line, is scheduled to be completed this spring, even though excessive rain during March and April has posed challenges. PG&E is investing approximately $320m in the nine projects that will increase electric capacity, improve reliability and also allow for the Hunters Point Power Plant to close.

Ten business days after PG&E notifies the California ISO that the Jefferson-Martin line is in commercial service, the “reliability must-run” contract under which PG&E is obligated to operate the plant will terminate, at which point PG&E will immediately close the plant.

“PG&E worked closely with the community, the City and the Port of San Francisco to get the Potrero-Hunters Point Cable project approved and built in a timely manner,” said Jeff Butler, senior vice president of energy delivery at PG&E. “Everyone understood the project’s role in closing the Hunters Point Power Plant.”

“The Close It Coalition and the A. Philip Randolph Institute have been instrumental in seeing that Hunters Point Power Plant close,” said Lynette Sweet, a community resident and advocate, and board member of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District. “I’m grateful that PG&E listened to the community and worked hard to keep their promise.”