CPUC to SDG&E: No more use of helicopters to build Sunrise Power - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

CPUC to SDG&E: No more use of helicopters to build Sunrise Powerlink line

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The California Public Utilities Commission Tuesday ordered San Diego Gas & Electric to stop using helicopters to build the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line until further notice.

According to the CPUC, the air-crane helicopters used on the project have been involved in eight incidents, seven since June. The latest took place Monday, the dropping of a straw boom used to prevent erosion.

When the commission granted SDG&E permission to build the line, it retained authority to shut down construction activities.

The utility did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sunrise Powerlink will be a major transmission line to carry electricity from the Imperial Valley over the East County mountains to San Diego, providing another source of energy for the increasing power demands of a growing metropolis.

In a letter to the utility, the CPUC ordered the company to conduct a safety stand-down to review operations and safety procedures with all pilots and ground personnel, and conduct training sessions on rigging helicopter loads.

When those conditions are satisfied, the commission plans to let flights resume, but restrict helicopter operations only to areas where there is no road access.

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