A tentative ruling issued by an administrative law judge may kill San Diego Gas & Electric’s controversial plan to shut off power in certain areas when low humidity and high winds pose a wildfire risk.
In his ruling, Judge Timothy Kenney recommended Tuesday that the California Public Utilities Commission reject SDG&E’s plan when the commission meets on Sept. 10 in San Francisco.
“SDG&E has not met its burden to demonstrate that the benefits of shutting off power outweigh the significant costs, burdens and risks that would be imposed on customers and communities in the areas where the power is shut off,’' Kenney wrote, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
In lieu of rejecting the plan outright, Kenney recommended that the PUC impose strict conditions that would make executing the plan less feasible, according to the newspaper.
The PUC can accept either recommendation or come up with a third option when it meets next month.
Opponents of the shut-off plan say it is SDG&E’s way of trying to protect its finances.
So far, SDG&E has spent $740 million settling lawsuits arising out of the 2007 wildfires caused by arcing power lines.