SCE repeats request for permission to resume construction

Southern California Edison (SCE) has repeated its request that California state regulators partially lift a stay of construction and allow it to resume work on portions of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) that would not [OK?] be ordered to be placed underground (Docket No. A07-06-031).

The utility renewed its request in a petition for modification it filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Jan. 28, in which it asked that regulators modify the partial stay of construction so that it applies only to portions of Segment 8A of the TRTP that lie within the city of Chino Hills, Calif., or that would become unnecessary or obsolete if the commission were to order the project to be placed underground.

SCE’s previous request that the partial stay be modified was included in a motion for clarification filed Dec. 18, 2012. That request was denied Jan. 8 by administrative law judge (ALJ) Jean Vieth, who cited opposition by the city of Chino Hills and what Vieth called the “vagueness in SCE’s request.”

In her ruling, Vieth left the door open for another appeal but required that SCE must first meet and confer with Chino Hills to discuss the location and timelines of the work SCE proposed as well as what reasonable accommodation might be made to minimize disruption in the community. In addition, Vieth admonished SCE to make any future request “using the correct procedural vehicle (a petition for modification)” rather than a motion for clarification.

In the three weeks since the ruling, utility and city officials met and agreed that certain areas of Segment 8A that would be unaffected by potential underground construction could be released from the partial stay, SCE said in its petition.

“Chino Hills and SCE agree that the partial stay should be lifted (1) for all work outside of Chino Hills and (2) for specific access road work within Chino Hills,” the utility said. “The parties also agree the partial stay would remain in place for all other work within Chino Hills.”

The sole exception is specific access road work inside the city, which the city has already agreed upon, SCE said in its filing.

SCE requested a quick determination on its petition, noting that work on other segments of the project is nearly complete. Further delaying work on Segment 8A, SCE said, could result in “schedule extension, demobilization [of construction crews], and remobilization costs, which are estimated to be in the millions of dollars.”

When completed, the 250-mile, $2.2bn, 500-kV project 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 in California to help the state meet its goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020.

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