Powerlink: High-Voltage Power Lines in San Diego’s Back Country

Santa Ysabel to Creelman2

Santa Ysabel to Creelman, just off Hwy 78

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for the environmental review for the construction of the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) TieLine 637 Wood-To-Steel Project located in central San Diego County, near the communities of Ramona and Santa Ysabel, California. An application for this project was submitted to the CPUC on March 13, 2013 (Application A.13-03-003) and a Decision was issued on February 5, 2014 (Decision D.14-02-04).


SDG&E filed an application for a Permit to Construct the TL 637 Wood-to-Steel Project with the CPUC. The CPUC is the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lead agency for this project.

Santa Ysabel substation entrance

Santa Ysabel

General location: The project begins at Santa Ysabel Substation and runs westerly to the Creelman Substation.

The project will fire-harden approximately 14 miles of the existing 69-kilovolt (kV) wood pole power line (TL 637) between the Creelman and Santa Ysabel Substations. SDG&E’s purpose for the project is to “increase fire safety and service reliability” of the 69 kV power line in a high fire risk area of San Diego County. As proposed by SDG&E, the project will fire-harden the existing system by replacing the existing 69 kV wood pole structures with new weathering steel poles. Work will also be conducted at the Creelman and Santa Ysabel Substations to allow for the wood-to-steel conversions of TL 637. Further, SDG&E has proposed to install a new SDG&E-owned and operated fiber optic cable between the substations on the new TL 637 steel poles ,which has been approved.

The project is located in unincorporated San Diego County, between the communities of Ramona and Santa Ysabel, in central San Diego County, California. The location of the  project is shown in the Project Location Map.

Creelman to Santa Ysabel1

Application and Proponents Environmental Assessment

SDG&E’s application and Proponent’s Environmental Assessment  (PEA) for the TL 637 Wood-to-Steel Project was submitted March 13, 2013, and is available online in the following links:

Data Requests

As needed during the environmental review process, the Environmental Review Team provided SDG&E with data requests for specific information during preparation of the CEQA document. These requests and SDG&E’s responses is published below.

PEA Completeness Review and Data Request No. 1

The CPUC deemed SDG&E’s application complete on May 20, 2013. In addition, the CPUC identified additional data supports the environmental review process and provided SDG&E with Data Request No. 1. Click the following links to view the letter deeming the application complete and Data Request No. 1, as well as SDG&E’s response.

Santa Isabel Sunrise Powerlink1

Environmental Review

Final Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) Publication
On January 21, 2014, the CPUC prepared a Final Mitigated Negative Declaration under CEQA for consideration of the Tie-Line 637 Wood-to-Steel Replacement Project. The information in the Final MND describes the Proposed Project and potential environmental impacts, identifies those impacts that could be significant, and presents mitigation measures to “avoid or minimize potentially significant impacts.”

Santa Ysabel to Creelman1

Santa Ysabel to Creelman. CA Dept. Fire; SDG& 2013; SANDAG. Page 253 from link

The Final IS/MND incorporates all comments received during the public review period for the Draft IS/MND, as well as revisions discussed and “agreed” upon during various discussions with the applicants and the CPUC. The responses to comments are provided in Attachment B of the Final IS/MND. Revisions to the Draft IS/MND are shown in strikeout/underline in the Final IS/MND . “No substantial changes” to the environmental document analyses or conclusions resulted from evaluation of the comments received during the public review period. No substantial revisions that would merit recirculation as defined by 15073.5(b) of Title 14 of CEQA were made to the project or analyses after public comment.

Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) Publication

On October 8, 2013, the CPUC released a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Adopt a MND for the TL 637 Project, showing that the proposed project, as mitigated, would “not have any significant effects on the environment.” BS!

The Notice of Intent (NOI) and Draft IS/MND are available by clicking on the following links:

Public Involvement and Comment Period

The Draft IS/MND is also available for review at the following libraries:

Ramona Branch Library
1275 Main Street
Ramona, California 92065
Julian Branch Library
1850 Highway 78
Julian, California 92036

On October 17, 2013, the CPUC conducted a public meeting regarding the Tie-Line 637 Wood-to-Steel Replacement Project MND. The meeting was held at the Ramona Community Center, located at 434 Aqua Lane, Ramona, California. Click the following links to view the meeting agenda and public meeting presentation. In addition, a copy of the written comment form is available here for download.

Comments on the Draft IS/MND were accepted until 5:00 p.m. on November 7, 2013. Too late now.

Creelman to Santa Ysabel

Commission Decision

The CPUC voted on February 5, 2014 to grant SDG&E a permit to construct the Tie- Line 637 Wood-to-Steel Pole Replacement Project. In other words, it’s a done deal!

Decision granting Permit to Construct to SDG&E

Construction Progress and Mitigation Monitoring

Reports issued by the CPUC, reports on construction progress, and reports issued as part of the Mitigation Monitoring Program will be published here as the project moves forward available.

Tie- Line 637 Wood-to-Steel Pole Replacement Project- Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program

For Additional Information

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

Project email: TL637woodtosteel@dudek.com
Project voicemail: (855) 262-8317

The CPUC’s project manager is:

Eric Chiang
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel. (415) 703-1956


 I strongly encourage concerned citizens to read the final report, besides the visual obstructions, there’s plenty to worry about in regards to the ‘Hazards and Hazardous Material,’ which is left out in the above findings.

Read the complete report here: Final IS/MND – California Public Utilities Commission



Related Links:


Purpose and Need – San Diego Gas & Electric

Notice of Intent – California Public Utilities Commission

Sdg&E – Santa Ysabel Substation

Sdg&e- Creelman Substation

California Public Utilities Commission

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

TieLine 637 Wood-to-Steel Project – California Public

CPUC TieLine 637 Wood-to-Steel Project – California

5.0 – Detailed Discussion of Significant Impacts – San Diego

Cleveland National Forest Project Maps | San Diego Gas

Project Fire Plan

Detailed Magnetic Field Management Plan


SDG&E files Sunrise Powerlink application | UTSanDieg

Tally of SDG&E projects here since 2007 wildfires – Ramona

Wetland Memo

Biological Technical Report – San Diego

Visualization Services – SCECM8 1.0

Backcountry Against Dumps | East County Magazine

Backcountry Against Dumps v. EPA


5 thoughts on “Powerlink: High-Voltage Power Lines in San Diego’s Back Country

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