PG&E plans new transmission lines for Paso Robles area

PG&E and another utility company have announced plans to build an electrical substation near Paso Robles and install a new transmission line to connect the station to the electrical grid.

Called the Estrella Substation, it will be built along PG&E’s transmission lines running 5 miles east of Paso Robles. The utility hopes to have the improvements in place by 2019.

Construction for all components of this project is expected to cost approximately $35 million to $45 million. This cost will be paid for by PG&E customers.

However, the impact on overall rates to utility customers will be minimal, PG&E spokesman Blair Jones said. The average bill impact for residential customers would be about 1 cent per month.

The exact location of the substation has not been determined. PG&E will hold five open houses in December and January in Paso Robles for the public to learn about the project and provide feedback about potential transmission line routes and substation locations.

The new infrastructure is being built at the behest of the California Independent System Operator, the state agency responsible for operating and managing the state’s power grid. That agency determined that it is needed to ensure long-term electrical reliability in the Paso Robles area, said Pat Mullen, regional director of PG&E’s Los Padres division.

“These upgrades are vital in our efforts to provide reliable and efficient energy service to our customers,” he said.

Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, and perform any of several other functions. PG&E will erect a new east-west electrical transmission line from the San Miguel-Paso Robles transmission line that runs along Highway 101 to the new substation.

The new infrastructure will serve 47,000 electrical customers in the Paso Robles, Atascadero, San Miguel, Templeton, Creston and Santa Margarita areas. Recent growth in the Paso Robles area accelerated the need for improvements in the electrical grid, according to PG&E.

NextEra Energy Transmission West has been selected by state regulators to build the substation. The company is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy.

The five open houses are the first steps in an environmental review of the project and a public outreach process. The new substation and transmission line must be approved by the state Public Utilities Commission.

Electrical substation open house dates and locations

Monday, Dec. 7: 4 to 7 p.m., Paso Robles Elks Lodge, 1420 Park St., Paso Robles.

Tuesday, Dec. 8: 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., Paso Robles Event Center, Frontier Pavilion, 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles.

Monday, Jan. 11: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Park Ballroom, 1232 Park St., Suite 200, Paso Robles.

Tuesday, Jan. 12: 4 to 7 p.m., Paso Robles Event Center, Frontier Pavilion, 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles.