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Judge Tentatively Approves SDG&E Plan To Purchase Power From Proposed Otay Mesa Plant

San Diego Gas & Electric's plans to purchase power from a proposed power plant in Otay Mesa were given tentative approval by an administrative law judge, the California Public Utilities Commission announced Monday.

The approval was granted Friday by Administrative Law Judge Hallie Yacknin, according to the CPUC.

Environmentalists have bitterly fought the development of the Pio Pico Energy Center, contending that it conflicts with their wishes for cleaner energy.

The CPUC had previously rejected the plant, but plans were amended after Southern California Edison decided to retire the reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. San Diego Gas & Electric, which received 20 percent of the power from San Onofre, would get the energy from the Pio Pico plant.

The judge's decision tentatively allows SDG&E to purchase power from the 305-megawatt plant for 25 years, beginning in 2017, and charge its customers accordingly, subject to a cap.

The plant is slated for 10 acres along Alta Road, adjacent to the Otay Mesa Generating Project. It's known as a "peaker'' plant that would kick into operation during periods of high demand on SDG&E's system.

"This proposed plant is a giveaway to SDG&E,'' said Emily Wier, a member of San Diego 350, an environmental group focused on climate change."The investor-owned utilities are feeling threatened by the growing rooftop solar revolution and are trying to lock us into a dirty energy future we don't want and we can't afford.''

The earliest the commissioners can hear the issue will be Feb. 5.

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