Southern California environment news and trends

Edison crews start putting transmission lines underground in Chino Hills

Courtesy Hope for the Hills

Chino Hills residents waged a 6-year campaign against high voltage transmission lines wedged into narrow right-of-ways among homes that Southern California Edison says will connect Kern County wind energy to the LA Basin.

State utility officials and people in Chino Hills are celebrating the start of work to put a section of a high-voltage transmission line in the ground rather than above homes. 

The Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project connects a wind farm in Kern County to the L.A. basin with high-voltage lines strung between towers that rise 200 feet into the sky. Homeowners in Chino Hills complained that a stretch of the transmission line through their neighborhood was too narrow, allowing towers 60 feet wide to be plunked down within yards of houses.

A group called Hope for the Hills fought the transmission lines for four years. They recruited local politicians to their cause. But an administrative judge ruled the towers could stay.

Last month, the head of the state's Public Utilities Commission offered an alternate solution: relocate the lines underground at a cost of 224 million dollars. On Friday, PUC president Michael Peevey and other officials kicked off the project, which begins in earnest later this month.

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