The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to allow Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (San Francisco, California, U.S.) to upgrade a transmission line between the San Mateo substation and Martin substation to avoid overloading the local power grid in the San Francisco Bay area.

The US$20 million project would covert the existing 12-mile transmission line between the substations from 60 kV to 115 kV so that an extra 135 MW can flow into the area. The substations are both located south of San Francisco.

The CPUC order said that existing PG&E lines may become overloaded in the fall of 2004. “The potential for overloading is especially high if the power plants in San Francisco become unavailable to provide local power,” the order stated.

A Dow Jones Business News story released yesterday stated that once the project was finished, additional electricity could reach San Francisco and northern San Mateo County, an area growing in population and demand, according to PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno.

PG&E also plans to build a 230 kV underground power line from its Jefferson substation in unincorporated Redwood City to the Martin substation, according to Dow Jones Business News. The new line would allow an additional 400 MW to flow into the region.