Electric Distribution Station Proposed for Marquez

This would be the site of a new electric distributing station.


Los Angeles Department of Water and Power invites comments on its environmental impact review in connection with the construction of a proposed distributing station (DS-104) at 16931 Marquez Avenue. A scoping meeting will be held November 30 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. via webinar.

According to the DWP, DS-104 is needed because of the current and expected increase in power demand as customers slowly replace products that consume fossil fuels with those that consume electricity.

DWP wrote in its November 10 notice: “The Pacific Palisades community has contributed to this increase in power demand especially through residential electric vehicle charging. DS-104 will allow for the continued reliable delivery of power . . .and will prevent blackouts from occurring especially during periods of elevated power consumption.”

DWP notes that the proposed station, DS-104, would have a control room, restroom, transformers, circuit breakers, switchgear and interconnection apparatus.

The station would be operated remotely and not require daily on-site staff. Design options under consideration include wall-enclosures, equipment placed indoors and underground circuits.

If everything is approved, construction would start in the fall of 2024 and continue for 42 months. Once completed, it would alleviate electrical loads on existing facilities and the two 65-ft. pole-top distributing stations (PTDS), at Temescal and Sunset and at the western terminus of Marquez Avenue and Sunset, would be removed.

Brief History:

Distributing Station 29 (DS-29), at the corner of Via de la Paz and Sunset, was built in 1935.

In 2012, the DWP announced plans to build a new substation (DS-104) on its Marquez Avenue property, south of Marquez Charter Elementary School.

Then, a department press release noted, “DS-29 is working at its designed capacity and will exceed its capacity within the next six years due to increasing electricity demand in the surrounding community.”

An uproar from the community about the proposed location of a new station, led to a task force being formed. That group rejected the Marquez location and recommended several alternate sites, which included Los Leones parkland (behind Fire Station 29). All proposed sites were investigated and rejected.

While discussions ensued over the next few years, periodic blackouts continued, particularly in the Palisades west of Temescal Canyon.

In January 2017, DWP officials attended a Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting and said that to keep electricity reliable in the Marquez and Castellammare areas in lieu of a station, it would have to install two PTDS. Each installation would feature two 60-ft. industrial-sized steel poles, but they would be removed after a permanent distribution station was built.

In a story at the time, this editor wrote about the pole-top stations:

“This is a good band-aid,” DWP’s Jack Waizenegger said about the pole-tops, but noted there were two issues with those stations as opposed to a substation: the PTD is fused and has no backup transformer, plus it has overhead exposure and minimal remote monitoring.

Waizenegger said that even if residents switched to alternate energy sources and low-energy appliances, this area’s power station (built in 1935 at the corner of Sunset and Via de la Paz and upgraded numerous times) would not be a permanent fix. He said that the area needed a second substation.

Comments via email will be accepted as official comments, but a name and return address should be put in the email message, so that a resident can be added to the mailing list. DS104.CEQA@ladwp.com.

Hard Copy Mail must be received by December 16 and mailed to: LADWP, 111 North Hope Street, Room 1044, Los Angeles, Ca. 90012, Attention: Mr. Aiden Long

A scoping meeting will be held. To join the webinar: ow.ly/7H5T50Lx1BH or call (213) 306-3065, ID 2486 024 2135. Visit: http://www.ladwp.com/envnotices

If a new distributing station is built, these poles, at Sunset and Marquez, will be removed.

The poles at Temescal that block the views of the Santa Monica Mountains will be taken down when a new station is built.

This entry was posted in Community. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Electric Distribution Station Proposed for Marquez

  1. Paul Glasgall says:

    You realize that this location was part of the DWP Task Force analysis that I sat on?
    It sure has been a long time since then.Wonder why they waited so long to proceed on this issue since the way it was presented if we didnt proceed immediately there would be blackouts by now. We suspected all along that this was their preferred location because they own the property which greatly reduces the cost of the project and perhaps the time frame as well. The big issue then and i am sure, now,is that it abuts the school.

  2. Danielle Samulon says:

    Hi Sue—While you are filling in readers on the history of the situation, you may want to include the following critical information as background for your readers:
    After months of study, DWP’s own environmental consultants concluded that the site next to Marquez Charter was fatally flawed with “Grade F” for geology, for being on an “existing landslide” and “regarded as likely unstable,” resulting in “a likely significant and unavoidable [environmental] impact.” Just a few years ago (around 2014), Marquez Charter had to move all students out of ten classrooms that were adjacent to the canyon behind the school after geologists hired by LAUSD determined that the entire building was unsafe for continued use. The entire building holding those classrooms was demolished and not replaced. Besides the fatally flawed geology, a host of other environmental and safety factors were considered and deemed unacceptable by the LADWP’s own experts.

    In addition, LADWP has an extensive record of fires/explosions at various distributing stations. This is precisely why the LAUSD School Board adopted policy in 2005 that prohibits siting of any new schools next to such high-risk facilities. In 2013, the LAUSD School Board adopted a further resolution pledging to oppose any proposed distributing station next to Marquez Charter. Such an accident at the Marquez site, next to hundreds of elementary school children, atop a canyon of dry brush in a Red High Risk Fire Hazard zone would be nothing short of catastrophic. In fact, last year’s fire season proved just how high risk this area is when a brush fire erupted causing the evacuation of Marquez Charter Elementary and 200+ homes in the Marquez area.

    Indeed, based on its own evaluation and expert reports, LADWP’s preferred site was a 1.17 acre site close to Los Liones Fire Station 23. This was the preferred choice by LADWP due to its geologic stability and low cost of construction. However, after a private meeting with a few vocal opponents, DWP turned its attention away from that site and shifted focus to the Marquez location.

  3. Sonja Alper says:

    Marquez School location has a geologically challenged soil condition as well as immediate proximity to the actual school itself. An alternative, such as behind the fire station in Los Liones lower canyon, would be much less expensive to build, safer soil conditions, and immediate access from the fire department if there were ever some emergency. That site is also not immediately adjacent to residences or school property.

  4. Sue says:


    The land next to the fire station is California State Park Land and they refused allowing the City to build a station there.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *