News Flash: California regulators approve undergrounding Tehachapi project

By a vote of 3-2, California regulators decided to place a 3.5-mile portion of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) underground as it passes through the city of Chino Hills, Calif., (Docket No. A07-06-031).

In the culmination of years of wrangling, reams of legal filings, and months of testimony, evidentiary hearings, and ex parte meetings, members of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on July  11 approved the alternate proposed decision written by CPUC President Michael Peevey, which called for placing the portion of Segment 8A underground, effectively overturning the original above ground route approved when the CPUC issued its original decision in December 2009.

Peevey and Commissioners Mark Ferron and Catherine Sandoval voted in favor of Peevey’s measure, while Commissioners Michel Florio and Carla Peterman voted against it.

In remarks made before casting her vote, Peterman, the newest member of the commission, said she was “concerned about substituting the judgment of a mostly new set of commissioners for the judgment of those who had originally decided the case after seeing all of the evidence.”

Florio, who also opposed undergrounding the portion of the project, spoke of the need for regulatory certainty, the lack of which “is one of the things that leads people to view California as a risky place to do business.”