LOS ANGELES (AP) — A $2.3 billion proposal to rewire portions of Southern California's transmission grid following the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant could mean higher electricity bills for consumers, the state's power transmission agency said Tuesday.
The board of governors for the California Independent System Operator will vote early next month on the plan to improve the flow of power to the San Diego region and Los Angeles basin, spokesman Steven Greenlee said.
The annual upgrade proposal would then move on to the California Public Utilities Commission, which has the final say over transmission projects and consumer costs.
Customers statewide could eventually see a slight uptick in transmission access charges on their monthly bills, Greenlee said.
"It's a very, very small percentage of a customer's bill," he said.
ISO officials said the proposed upgrade would reduce the need for additional power resources, including natural gas plants that could interfere with California's aggressive clean-air and climate goals, according to U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/1bJ1o3l).
Consumer advocates told the newspaper the $2.3 billion assessment appears to be overly cautious and wasteful, given recent declines in peak power use.
The largest transmission outlay under the proposal would loop in major power lines to an upgraded Mesa Substation and into the Los Angeles basin, according to the ISO's 297-page report. At a cost of as much as $700 million, that project is also designed to reduce the need for new power plants in the Los Angeles region.