Pub. Util. Code § 625 provides that a public utility that offers competitive services may not condemn any property for the purpose of competing with another entity unless the Commission finds that such an action would serve the public interest based on a hearing for which the owner of the property to be condemned has been noticed and the public has an opportunity to participate (Pub. Util. Code § 625(a)(1)(A)). However, an exception is made for condemnation actions that are necessary solely for an electric or gas company to meet a Commission-ordered obligation to serve. In that circumstance, the electric or gas company is required to provide notice on the Commission Calendar if and when it pursues installation of facilities for the purposes of providing competitive services (Pub. Util. Code § 625(a)(1)(B)).
PG&E states that the Jefferson-Martin project is being proposed and will be implemented to meet PG&E's obligation to serve. The project includes new fiber optic cable to provide internal communication links for line protection purposes. PG&E states that it has no current intention to use this fiber optic cable for competitive purposes or to lease it. In addition, since the San Francisco area is a net importer of power, there is no expectation that the Jefferson-Martin project could be used to export power from the area for competitive purposes.
In D.01-10-029, the Commission addressed the applicability of § 625 where PG&E is implementing a project to meet its obligation to serve, but aspects of the project may later have a competitive purpose. We described that § 625 provides two different levels of notice and oversight and that, "The lesser standard requires that when condemning properties to carry out a commission-ordered obligation, § 625 (a)(1)(B) is applicable, which only requires notice be provided to the Commission Calendar." With similar circumstances, we conclude as in D.01-10-029 that the lesser standard, notice, applies for the Jefferson-Martin project.