Residents vow to fight bay-front power station

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Chula Vista residents say they’ll fight a plan by SDG&E to build seven-story power towers across the city’s bayfront.

A  City Council meeting went late into the night Tuesday as resident argued over the new plans for a power substation at the site of the old South Bay Power Plant, which was torn down earlier this year.

San DIego Gas and Electric’s plan has been widely criticized and accused of a bait and switch after unveiling a design that includes tall power towers carrying power lines along the waterfront.

“The original plan that I signed with SDG&E had all of the power lines underground,” said Steve Padilla, the former mayor of Chula Vista. ” SDG&E has to do this right the first time.”

Padilla said that after signing the original agreement with Chula Vista, SDG&E got approval from a judge to replace the under-grounding plan with above-the-ground power lines. The former mayor is pressing the City Council to fight the new plan.

SDG&E declined to discuss the project with Fox 5 News, but the company released a statement saying its plan has numerous benefits for the residents of Chula Vista. But many of the residents at Tuesday’s council meeting said they feel burned.

“They came together and agreed on a plan, and now I think they are trying to back away from it,” resident Dan McKirnan said.

The utility says the project would cost $12 million more to bury the power lines, but other engineers disputed that,  saying should cost about half that.

Former City Councilman John McCann said that the city should approve the SDG&E plan for expediency.

“I have so many neighbors who want to see the additional economic jobs and that’s why I’m hear to support the bay front plan,” McCann said.

The California Public Utilities Commission will take up  plan to move forward on the bay front project on Thursday.

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