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San Diego Sues SDG&E Over Recycled Water Project

A sign on SDG&E's headquarters appears in this undated photo.

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Above: A sign on SDG&E's headquarters appears in this undated photo.

UPDATE: 2:45 p.m., Jan. 16, 2020:

The city of San Diego is suing San Diego Gas & Electric for $35 million over costs relating to its massive recycled water project.

That’s the amount the city claims SDG&E owes for relocating gas and power lines to make way for the Pure Water project, which promises to convert millions of gallons of wastewater into drinking water.

The city also claims SDG&E refused to even begin moving the lines unless it paid the relocation cost up front. To avoid a delay, the city said it paid that tab in 2018.

But City Attorney Mara Elliott said SDG&E is required to pay that bill under a 1971 contract that gave the company exclusive rights to be San Diego’s gas and electricity provider.

‘It’s unfortunate that a lawsuit is needed to compel our longtime partner to honor the terms of its contract with the city,” Elliott said in a news release. “Pure Water is critical to protecting the ocean from pollution and increasing our water independence. This program cannot be compromised by further delays.”

SDG&E responded to the city's lawsuit in a written statement.

“Broadly speaking, SDG&E does not believe the relocation costs of this City of San Diego water project should be spread to customers in the other cities within our service area,” the company said. “We look forward to resolving this matter as quickly as possible.”

Editor's Note: The previous version of this incorrectly characterized the allegations at the heart of the city's lawsuit against SDG&E. KPBS regrets the error.

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