CPUC orders SCE to provide more detail in battle with Chino Hills

Southern California Edison (SCE) has been ordered to develop prepared testimony addressing options for undergrounding portions of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project that run through the city of Chino Hills.

The July 2 order from California Public Utilites Commission (CPUC) President Michael Peevey came almost two months to the day the CPUC announced that SCE and the city of Chino Hills would be entering confidential settlement negotiations on the routing of the 500-KV Tehachapi renewable transmission project (TRTP) power line through the city (Docket No. A07-06-031).

The ruling “requires SCE to provide more detailed testimony that relies on preliminary engineering to more fully describe and estimate the costs and construction timeline for undergrounding options,” the CPUC said in its statement. 

“I am directing both sides to sharpen their pencils to bring the underground solution into better focus,” CPUC President Michael Peevey said in a statement announcing the order. “This will allow the CPUC to then select, through its final decision in this case, the best solution for this important renewable energy transmission line.”

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that time is of the essence in getting this line completed and energized by 2015,” Peevey continued. “We must enable the delivery of electric generation over the Project on the schedule currently anticipated.”

SCE must prepare testimony based on preliminary engineering studies of undergrounding options for transmission lines running through the city of Chino Hills by Feb. 28, 2013.

The city of Chino Hills provided TransmissionHub a prepared statement saying that it supports the ruling, and noting that the ruling “reaffirmed that the stay of construction for segment eight through Chino Hills will remain in effect while testimony is being prepared and submitted.”

The utility’s response was equally brief: “We will comply with the commission’s order to file testimony regarding undergrounding options for transmission lines running through the City of Chino Hills,” an SCE spokesperson told TransmissionHub on July 3.

The resulting prepared testimony, as well as testimony developed and served by other interested parties, will be the subject of evidentiary hearings as necessary, according to the CPUC.

The CPUC will undertake any and all appropriate review required by the California Environmental Quality Act before issuing a final decision, anticipated in 2013, the statement said.

SCE has called the Tehachapi project “a critically important, high-voltage transmission line, the timely completion of which is essential for California’s progress toward its aggressive renewable energy goals.”

California has a mandate to obtain 33% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Once completed, the $2.2bn Tehachapi project will be capable of delivering up to 4,500 MW of wind energy from the Tehachapi area to population centers in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties in California, according to SCE’s website.

SCE is a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE:EIX).