South Orange County Reliability Enhancement (SOCRE) Project

Our mission is to provide our 3.7 million customers with clean, safe and reliable energy. To do this, we continue to modernize and upgrade existing substations and infrastructure, so you get the reliable energy you deserve. The SOCRE project improves electric reliability in South Orange County. The SOCRE project was approved on December 15, 2016, by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Construction on this project began in 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2024.

About the Project

The SOCRE project will increase the reliability and operational flexibility of SDG&E’s South Orange County 138-kilovolt (kV) system and reduce the risk of power outages. Aging electric infrastructure in South Orange County is being upgraded, including the Capistrano Substation in the City of San Juan Capistrano and the existing transmission line network serving the area.

Power delivered by the Talega Substation, located on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, is transmitted to seven distribution substations over a 138-kV transmission network; Capistrano, Laguna Niguel, Margarita, Pico, San Mateo, Rancho Mission Viejo and Trabuco. The SOCRE project will improve reliability by providing a second 230-kV power source to SDG&E’s South Orange County service area.  The Capistrano Substation, constructed in 1918 and last rebuilt in 1940, will be modernized including the aging infrastructure between the Talega and Capistrano Substations.

Historic photograph of the Capistrano Substation (1921)


SDG&E will send community members advance notifications and project updates through the US Postal Service, email, door-to-door outreach and the news media. Below you'll find the project schedule, reliability benefits, frequently asked questions, the project permitting process and project contact information. We too, live and work in the communities where construction is taking place. We respect your streets and neighborhoods and will take care when driving and working in the surrounding communities.

Project benefits

  • Improves reliability to existing electric system
  • Modernizes electric transmission system and replaces outdated equipment
  • Replaces wood poles with steel poles to reduce fire risks
  • Meets current and future energy needs of local homes and businesses
  • Allows for operational flexibility
  • Meets federal and state reliability standards

Construction Schedule

Reconstruction of the San Juan Capistrano Substation began in July 2017 and was the beginning of an approximately six-year construction schedule. Since early 2019, power lines surrounding the Capistrano Substation are being installed and configured. Also, some of the existing transmission structures between the Capistrano and Talega Substations are being replaced with upgraded, modern structures with increased capacity.

pole 6
Crews installing new 230kV transmission pole No. 6 in San Juan Capistrano (6/23/2020)


Construction Schedule
2012 – 2017 Project permitting
2017 – 2022 Rebuild and upgrade the Capistrano Substation
2019 – 2024 Replace and upgrade a transmission line with phased completion
2020 – 2024 Replace existing structures with taller, new steel poles

Frequently Asked Questions

The project is in San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and the unincorporated areas of Orange County. The outdated substation in San Juan Capistrano is being rebuilt and upgraded. One of the transmission lines that connects the Capistrano and Talega substations is being upgraded to provide added reliability and operational flexibility.  

The South Orange County Reliability Enhancement Project is necessary to maintain reliability in the South Orange County communities. By replacing outdated and aging infrastructure in the area, SDG&E will be able to maintain safe and reliable service to its South Orange County customers.  In addition, the added capacity will accommodate future growth. 

SDG&E developed the ‘preservation alternative’ to save and restore the former utility structure that was originally built in 1918. Keeping and restoring a portion of this structure was a major request from several local community stakeholders. The CPUC approved this alternative in their final decision dated December 15, 2016. 

SDG&E is replacing the existing 138/12-kV substation that was last rebuilt in the 1940’s with a new 138/12-kV gas-insulated substation. Additionally, there will be a new 230/138-kV gas-insulated substation built within the substation site. Once the new 138/12-kV gas-insulated substation is in service in the lower yard, the existing 138/12-kV substation will be decommissioned and the 230/138-kV gas-insulated substation will be built in the upper yard. And the majority of the existing wood poles to the east and west of the site will be removed and the lines will be undergrounded. 

SJC site
View of the San Juan Capistrano Substation site (7/12/20)


Project permitting:

Proponent’s Environmental Assessment (PEA)

Proponent’s Environmental Assessment (PEA), Volume II of II, PUBLIC Version

CPUC Regulatory Process

SDG&E filed an application with the CPUC for the SOCRE project in May 2012 and the CPUC application for SOCRE was filed May 18, 2012.

CPUC scoping process dates:

  1. Public meetings were held January 23 - 24, 2013

  2. Public Comment, January 9 - February 22, 2013

  3. Draft EIR- comment period ended April 10, 2015

  4. Additional Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) comment period ended on September 24, 2015

  5. Final Decision was made on December 15, 2016

CPUC website for SOCRE Project

Go to the CPUC site
Para informacion Español
Spanish flyer

Contact Us/More Information


Erik Weigand
Public Affairs Manager
South Orange County Reliability Enhancement
(949) 577-0005
[email protected]

EMF Q&A for SOCRE Project