In a slightly different twist on the meaning of “wireless,” residents of one Southern California community are getting their wish as the local power provider rips out above-ground transmission lines and moves them underground.
Earlier this summer, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) granted the request of the city of Chino Hills to bury a 3.5-mile segment of Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project.
The 500-kilovolt line delivers electricity generated from massive wind turbines in the Tehachapi Mountains located in the hills of nearby Kern County into the megalopolis that is the Los Angeles basin.
In this case, aesthetics trumped even the benefits of renewable power. The PUC sided with the city in ruling that the design of the above-ground line ignores community values and places an unfair and unreasonable burden on residents.
To comply with the ruling, Edison will have to remove more than a dozen, massive 198-foot-tall electrical towers. According to the PUC, the cost to underground the lines will be approximately $224 million. The project is estimated to take about two years to complete.