San Diego Gas & Electric this week said a ruling by the California Public Utilities Commission that the utility may have misrepresented facts relating to the proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line is \u201cthe result of a significant misunderstanding.\u201d In a memo from commissioner Dian Grueneich, regulators declared that SDG&E may have misrepresented material facts in its June meetings with commission staff regarding the routing of the proposed Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Project. The transmission project involves building a 500kV line in the southernmost region of the state from the eastern desert to San Diego\u2019s urban consumers. The utility claims it would facilitate moving solar and other renewable energy from its source to consumers. Opponents claim it\u2019s unneeded--that renewable energy sources can be placed near users--and that it would be an environmental hazard, as well as an encroachment on tribal and protected lands.. The commissioner\u2019s memo asserts that SDG&E didn\u2019t disclose to CPUC advisors that there were viable southern routes for the Sunrise Powerlink that avoided Native American lands. \u201cSDG&E appears to have misrepresented that the route went through tribal lands, when in fact an alternate route had previously been jointly developed and agreed to by SDG&E that did not go through tribal lands,\u201d Grueneich said in an August 1 scoping memo. But SDG&E president and chief executive officer Donna Reed stated that the accusations are incorrect. She added that in June meetings with CPUC staff, the utility discussed an alternative route that avoided all tribal lands. \u201cWe even provided a map that clearly defined this option,\u201d Reed stated. \u201cIt\u2019s clear these accusations aren\u2019t supported by the facts.\u201d The ruling also contends that ex parte notices filed by SDG&E on June 13 don\u2019t include all materials provided to commission staff at these meetings, but also that the notices identify materials that weren\u2019t actually provided to staff. Ex parte meetings are those in which only one side of a dispute is present. \u201cThere is also a reasonable basis to conclude that SDG&E violated [CPUC law],\u201d noted Grueneich. SDG&E has until August 15 to file a response explaining why it shouldn\u2019t be found in violation by submitting a response that includes a corporate officer\u2019s declaration attesting to the truth of the utility\u2019s response. If a violation or violations are ultimately found, the utility could be fined up to $20,000 per infraction by the CPUC, depending on the severity of the offense. Additionally, the commission also may consider banning ex parte communications, either for the duration of the Sunrise Powerlink proceeding or a specified time period. A decision on whether to approve the project is expected in late November at the earliest.