CPUC Rules Against SCE Project, Community Support Needed
City to continue its pursuit to prevent unnecessary impacts to our community
In a stunning setback for Southern California Edison’s (SCE) efforts to place hundreds of new power poles in the City of Lake Elsinore, Judge Hallie Yacknin at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has determined that 10 miles of new powerlines within the City, and a large substation with a dual row of 500 kV transmission towers proposed just north of the City, are not needed to assure reliable power in the Elsinore Valley.
The project, known as the Alberhill Substation Project, was slated to cost $464 million with those costs being passed onto ratepayers. On April 4, 2018, the CPUC released Administrative Law Judge Yacknin’s proposed decision related to SCE’s Alberhill Substation and Valley-Ivyglen Projects.
Judge Yacknin was steadfast in her decision that SCE’s proof of need did not measure up: “Absent a proven need to install additional capacity in the Valley South system, we do not find that the Alberhill project’s reliability and operational flexibility benefits are sufficient cause to approve the project.”
Judge Yacknin’s tentative decision, if ultimately approved by the full five-member Commission, will result in the elimination of construction and view impacts running along the entire length of the City.
“While we are very pleased with this portion of the proposed decision, there is still more work to do,” said City Manager Grant Yates. “SCE is a valued partner. However, their failure to consider reasonable undergrounding requests along with a piecemeal approach to system reliability improvements have left us no choice but to make our case at the CPUC.”
In her proposed decision, Judge Yacknin determined that SCE should be allowed to proceed with the second project known as the Valley-Ivyglen powerline project. The Valley-Ivyglen Project proposes new powerlines entering the City at Highway 74 just east of Interstate 15, crossing over the freeway and then heading northwest to Corona.
This Valley-Ivyglen Project was approved by the CPUC in 2010, but a realignment of the transmission lines necessitated new environmental review. Judge Yacknin rejected the City’s argument (along with other parties) contending that project impacts, particularly visual impacts, should be mitigated by undergrounding the powerlines.
The City disagrees and will continue to fight for undergrounding mitigation as these projects move forward to the full Commission in the coming weeks.
According to the CPUC, these projects may be heard, at the earliest, at the Commission’s May 10, 2018 Business Meeting. To confirm when the item will be heard, the City will be monitoring the CPUC Business Meeting agendas which are posted to the Commission’s website 10 days before each meeting.
Once these projects are brought forward to a Business Meeting, the CPUC is expected to issue a final decision. The Commission may accept, reject, or modify Judge Yacknin’s Proposed Decision.
“This was a big win for the City,” said Mayor Natasha Johnson. “But, now we need the community’s help to make sure the CPUC knows we won’t stand for unnecessary powerlines running through our beautiful City.”
Citizens are urged to share their comments and concerns with the CPUC. Comments can be emailed to email@example.com and must include the project’s proceeding number, Application 07-01-031 et. al. Find out more at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/general.aspx?id=4524.
View Administrative Law Judge Yacknin’s Proposed Decision released on April 4, 2018.
Sign up for the City’s SCE Projects Interest List to stay informed about any City news related to these projects.
CPUC Project Fact Sheets:
Other Related Information:
View the City's Opening Brief submitted on November 30, 2017
View the PowerPoint Update from the December 12th City Council Meeting.