City of Chino Hills, Calif., opposes SCE request to lift stay of construction on TRTP

The city of Chino Hills, Calif., is opposing Southern California Edison’s (SCE) request that California regulators lift the stay of construction on portions of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) located within the city but which are not part of the portion the city is requesting be placed underground (Docket No. A07-06-031).

SCE asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Dec. 18 to clarify the parameters of a partial stay of construction, and “confirm that … the partial stay now applies only to work on the portion of Segment 8A that would be affected by any underground option currently under evaluation by the commission.”

In its response filed with the CPUC Jan. 2, the city opposed modifying the stay.

“With the matter scheduled to be resolved in approximately six months, it is not appropriate to lift the stay as it applies to construction within city limits,” the city said.

In its two-page response, the city said it had no objection to lifting the stay on areas outside city boundaries.

Further, the city suggested that the project’s alignment might be adjusted if the CPUC ultimately decides that a portion of Segment 8A should be placed underground.

“The issue of whether the construction of [200-foot transmission] structures along the route [previously] approved by the commission … is in fact the environmentally superior alternative and in the public convenience and necessity will be determined in the ongoing proceeding before the commission,” the city said, adding, “Until this issue is finally resolved, the residents of Chino Hills should not be required to experience additional disruption to their work and home lives.”

In its request, SCE argued that resuming construction on components of Segment 8A “both outside and within Chino Hills is critical to minimize delays in the completion of the project.”

While acknowledging SCE’s desire to minimize delays, the city did not accept the utility’s premise that resuming work on uncontested portions of the project was necessary.

“SCE has not demonstrated that recommencing construction within the city prior to the determination of the issues currently pending before the commission will save any measurable time in completion of the TRTP,” the city said. “It would appear that completion of a few partially completed towers could be readily accomplished in the time required to fabricate and install the proposed underground transmission line, whichever configuration may be adopted.”

Calls seeking comment from SCE were not returned by press time Jan. 3.

When completed, the 250-mile, 500-kV TRTP will be capable of moving up to 4,500 MW of renewable energy from the Tehachapi, Calif., area to population centers in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties to help meet California’s renewable portfolio standard, which calls for 33% renewable energy by 2020.

The $2.2bn project is scheduled to be in service in 2015, according to the assigned commissioner’s ruling issued by CPUC President Michael Peevey on July 2, 2012.

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