SDG&E ordered to upgrade helicopter safety

SAN DIEGO (AP) – California regulators have warned San Diego Gas & Electric to meet helicopter safety regulations or they'll shut down work on a 117-mile power transmission line.

The Public Utilities Commission has set a Wednesday evening deadline for the utility to comply with safety orders for helicopters building the Sunrise Powerlink through eastern San Diego County.

Concerns were raised last month when a load of wood tumbled from a helicopter. The $2 billion project has been marred by repeated safety incidents. Last fall, the state grounded SDG&E choppers for six days while new safety and training measures were put in place.

Utility spokeswoman Jennifer Ramp says the company's priority is the safety of its workers, the public and the environment. She says the company is working to satisfy the PUC's concerns.

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