SDG&E system stable, restores damaged power lines

NEW YORK Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:22am EDT

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NEW YORK Oct 26 (Reuters) - San Diego Gas & Electric on Thursday energized the three remaining 230-kilovolt transmission lines running south from the San Onofre nuclear power station, completing the restoration of the two transmission corridors taken out of service by the wildfires.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Sempra Energy's (SRE.N) SDG&E subsidiary said the system was stable and workers could now concentrate on restoring power to the remaining 15,000 customers without service.

On its web site, the utility said it hopes to restore power to most of the affected customers by the end of October with power in the hardest hit areas back by the middle of November.

Within the next 24 to 48 hours, SDG&E said it expects to have most of the transmission system and substations in the fire-ravaged areas back in service. The utility moves the power from the generating plant over the transmission system to the distribution systems that serve the neighborhoods.

San Diego is connected to the California power grid by two major corridors - the Southwest Powerlink running east from the Palo Verde nuclear power station and the three transmission lines running south from San Onofre.

The Southwest Powerlink returned to service Wednesday afternoon "moments after" the last lines to San Onofre tripped, which kept SDG&E from possibly having to shut off power to customers.

The Southwest Powerlink had shut on Sunday due to a fire.

On Thursday, the utility said it kept the power flowing to most customers throughout the firestorm in part due to the continued conservation efforts of all customers, electricity from Mexico and a decision by the U.S. Navy to shift the power supply needs of its ships from the grid to onboard generators.

Earlier in the week, the utility said it was getting about 200 megawatts of power from Mexico. One megawatt powers about 700 California homes.

Sempra, of San Diego, California, owns and operates generating facilities, markets energy and other commodities around the world, and transmits and distributes electricity (1.3 million customers) and natural gas (6.2 million customers) to markets in California.

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