Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Utilities commission ends 6-year battle, undergrounding Tehachapi transmission in Chino Hills

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62699 full

The California Public Utilities Commission has decided to put a stretch of high-voltage transmission lines underground through a densely-populated stretch of Chino Hills.

The decision means that Southern California Edison crews will remove parts of the Techachapi Renewable Transmission Project that are there now. According to the PUC, the cost for putting the power lines underground $224 million, including a $17 million contribution from Chino Hills in the form of property.

Last month, an administrative law judge analyzing the project said such a move would be too expensive. But the president of the PUC, Michael Peevey, offered an alternate proposal, including underground lines.

“I know undergrounding costs more, but I believe in this instance the costs are manageable and relatively minor considering the overall well-being of the populace in doing so,” Peevey said.

The PUC approved Edison's Project to bring wind energy from Kern County to the L.A. basin four years ago. But the project's been on hold since then, as politicians and Chino Hills residents criticized the narrowness of the right of way, and the height of the high-voltage towers.

“Those 200 foot high and 60 feet wide towers were an abomination and an eyesore,” said Republican State Senator Bob Huff, who represents the area. “They were a danger to the community, located within yards of residential backyards and communities where children and families live.”

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