Unless transmission facilities are upgraded, utilities warned the California Energy Commission, the state will face rising electricity costs and growing unreliability of the grid. "We're in dire straits if we lose a single transmission line," said James Avery, San Diego Gas & Electric senior vice-president, electric, at a July 27 workshop on the 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report held by the commission. He said that even with new generation plants in San Diego, unless a new line is built, the area will face power shortages in 2010, and perhaps earlier if aging plants are shut down. Meanwhile, Avery said that the utility's congestion and reliability-must-run costs are growing rapidly and may reach as high as $400 million a year by 2010. To improve what commission member John Geesman characterized as a "worsened" transmission situation over the last two years, both the CEC and the grid operator outlined plans to more proactively plan transmission facilities. The commission is set to issue its first strategic transmission plan for public review September 8, with adoption by the full commission set for early November. The plan is expected to lay out a process for identifying and designating transmission corridors and recommend that the California Public Utilities Commission open a proceeding on land acquisition and banking for future transmission paths, explained Judy Grau, CEC senior mechanical engineer. Projects that could be completed by 2010 if they can obtain permits, relieve congestion, help meet load growth, and support development of renewable energy would get preference, Grau said. Key candidates include three projects to bring power into San Diego?including a 500 kV line from the Imperial Valley, the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage line, and upgrades of existing Imperial Valley lines. Other candidates include the Palo Verde-Devers 2 line, Path 26 upgrades, a South of Lugo Congestion Management project, and a Tehachapi line—all in Southern California. In Northern California, candidates include the Trans Bay DC Cable project (<i>Circuit<\/i>, July 22, 2005) and the Metcalf-Moss Landing 230 kV reinforcement. In the last week, real-life transmission problems highlighted the commission's quest for speeded-up transmission projects. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power lost power from the Intermountain Power Project in Utah on July 22 when it experienced an-all time record load of 5,708 MW, said Randy Howard, department executive assistant to the general manager. Lightning struck a transmission line, Howard said, interrupting supply from the plant and forcing the muni to cancel a power sale to Southern California Edison, which experienced its own near-record load. Howard said that the muni avoided outages by scrambling to bring in power from Nevada and other areas. Meanwhile, Edison experienced a voltage drop on the existing Palo Verde-Devers line after a fault developed on a smaller 33 kV line. "Devers dropped to 478 kV from 500 kV," said Patricia Arons, Edison transmission planning manager. "That's pretty devastating on a hot day." Both Arons and Howard voiced support for the CEC's upcoming transmission plan. The grid operator expects to complete its own long-range transmission facilities plan by the end of the year, said Gary DeShazo, CAISO director of planning. It will look at short-range projects that can be completed in five years to lower reliability-must-run contract and congestion costs, which it says total almost $1 billion a year statewide. It also will look at projects that can be completed in 10 years to enhance interconnection between California and the Western grid and allow more power imports into the state. DeShazo said that the long-range plan will respond to the concern of the grid operator's chief executive officer, Yakout Mansour, that the organization move away from being reactive to becoming proactive. The CEC has been angling for transmission siting authority in an attempt to pull it away from the California Public Utilities Commission, which Geesman maintains is too slow in its processes.