By Kim Lefner
What started as a murmur is becoming a roar of protest over SDG&E’s deceptively named “Reliability Project” which will nearly double the size of the electrical substation at the entrance to downtown and substantially increase the voltage and height of transmission poles throughout San Juan.
Critics say the project is less about reliability and more about increasing power to other cities. According to SDG&E documentation, this hugely expensive project is also a result of government mandates to satisfy “Global Warming” legislation which forces cities to install taxpayer-subsidized plug-in stations for electric vehicles. This is odd considering that even SDG&E admits that less than 3% of their 13,000 customers surveyed had purchased electric vehicles. Despite the lack of demand for electric vehicles however, SDG&E claims this project is “customer driven” (click on this link to see “SDG&E Smart Grid Deployment Plan”: http://tinyurl.com/7g4roaq). Adding insult to injury, our rates are being increased to shove this concept down our collective throats.
Besides the enlarged substation and increased pole and tower heights as high as 130 feet on hill tops and hillsides, residents are greatly concerned about the effects of Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF) from the increased voltage. While SDG&E attempts to convince us that health impacts from EMF are minimal, a recent state-sponsored study concluded that prolonged exposure to high levels of EMF may contribute to problems such as childhood leukemia and brain tumors. This has many residents asking, “Why risk it?”
Visual impacts include a massive new substation with two 45 to 50-foot tall buildings and a 10-foot high wall the length of a football field at the Northern entrance to historic downtown. The increased EMF from the new substation is unknown, but families living near smaller electrical substations have experienced health problems ranging from hair loss to cancer (click on this link to see CBS news story “South Redondo Beach Residents Believe Stray Voltage Causing Unexplained Illnesses“: http://tinyurl.com/85rqmd7 )