Southern California Edison this week released its report of alternative power line routes in the area of Chino Hills estimating costs of about $175 million to more than $1 billion if the project is changed by the state Public Utilities Commission.
The amount would surpass the current projected cost of building the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project by at least $8 million.
The document released late Tuesday by Edison was ordered by the state Public Utilities Commission to provide data on the various alternatives for the expanded power lines:
Through Chino Hills State Park
Undergrounding the power lines through the city
A different route through the city and/or state park
Using the existing right-of-way but with shorter, more closely spaced towers
Ways to reduce the impact of larger towers
The PUC made the request for the report two months ago. At the same time the commission required Edison to halt construction on its Tehachapi project through Chino Hills.
Officials of Edison said the approved route for the Tehachapi project that has already begun was considered in a comprehensive review by the commission in 2009 that largely focused on the proper route in the Chino Hills area.
“If a decision is made to move the lines from our existing right-of-way in Chino Hills, the determination of cost responsibility for changes to the project, if any, will be made by regulators at a future date,” said Paul Klein, Edison spokesman.
The high-voltage transmission poles and towers are being built to meet the state’s mandate to generate more sustainable energy and is expected to be complete in three years.
According to the report, if the project stayed on its original course the total cost will be $166 million.
The alternative of having shorter towers was the second least costly option, ranging from $174 million to $192 million.
If the project went around the city and through land of the state park, the cost would be anywhere from $424 million to $589 million.
Installing the power lines below ground would cost the most. The report says the underground option could cost $601 million to more than $1 billion.
Chino Hills officials said they are analyzing the document and are “very surprised that the dollar figures are this high.”
“We’ve asked our experts to go in and take a look at various segments of this to verify what they came up with,” said Councilman Ed Graham.
“All this paints a picture (by Edison) that all of what has been approved should stay.
“It will be the job of the PUC to go through this information to make a determination of what’s legitimate and what is not.”
Edison has completed 12 of the 18 transmission structures, spending about $59 million so far in constructing the Chino Hills portion of the Tehachapi project, the report reads.
To remove the existing construction will cost an additional $1 million to $11 million, the report reads.
The power line project running through a five-mile stretch of the city is intended to bring wind-generated electricity from Kern County to the Los Angeles Basin.
For four years, the city has fought Edison with a lawsuit, arguing that its right-of-way through the city is too narrow for the 200-foot power towers. The city has spent $2 million fighting Edison over the project.
City officials and a grassroots group Hope for the Hills have been advocating for the project to be built underground or through the neighboring the state park.
Hope for Hills president Bob Goodwin had no comment on Thursday about the report. He plans next week to discuss the report further with an Edison representative and area politicians.
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