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Jurupa Valley accuses Riverside of spreading ‘false’ information to back proposed power lines

Riverside is giving residents and businesses “false and misleading information” to convince them to support 100-foot tall high-voltage transmission lines that will cut through Jurupa Valley if approved, the Jurupa Valley City Council alleges in a letter.
All five Jurupa Valley council members signed the March 7 letter written to Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey and Joseph Ortiz, chairman of the board of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce.
The letter takes issue with a petition spread by the city and chamber that says burying the power lines — which Jurupa Valley officials say is necessary to avoid spoiling views and losing $2 million to $3 million in economic potential — would be too expensive. The petition doesn’t say how much it would cost.
In fact, Riverside’s share of the costs would be only 1.04 to 1.07 percent of the cost of the lines, the letter states. An analysis by resident Rick Bondar, which Jurupa Valley officials have cited, calculates that it would only cost the average residential ratepayer in Riverside another 5 cents per year to bury the Jurupa Valley portion of the line, known as the Riverside Transmission Reliability Project, or RTRP.
“The people of Jurupa Valley will unjustly bear all of the burdens resulting from the RTRP lines being constructed above ground within Jurupa Valley but will not receive any benefits from this project,” the letter states. “Undergrounding mitigates many of the adverse effects of the RTRP above-ground lines on the City of Jurupa Valley. …”

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Bailey and the head of Riverside Public Utilities, George Hanson, directed questions to city spokesman Phil Pitchford.
The project has been in the planning and environmental review process for more than 12 years and involved more than six open-house public meetings and multiple other public hearings, Pitchford said. No further presentations are planned until the California Public Utilities Commission decides on the project.
“We remain committed to providing our customers, the public, and stakeholders with complete and accurate information about the project, which can be found at poweringourfuture.org ,” Pitchford wrote in an email.
He declined to address the cost of the project or how much Riverside ratepayers would be responsible for, citing coming proceedings in front of the California Public Utilities Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Riverside is the only large city in Southern California to have only one connection to the statewide power grid. If that one connection to the grid goes down, Riverside will have a serious and lengthy power outage, city public utility officials argue in an informational flier about the project.
“The need for this project was demonstrated clearly in 2007, when transmission lines that feed Riverside were damaged and power was out across the city for over five hours,” the document states. “This cannot be allowed to happen again.”
Riverside has already agreed to put 2 miles of the 230-kilovolt line underground — next to an approved housing project — but another 8 miles would be above ground. The majority of the line would run next to existing lines built by Southern California Edison, with the rest next to the 15 Freeway.
By signing the petition, Riversiders tell the public utilities commission that they support the project as is.
“The alternatives you are considering call for more of the transmission line to be installed underground,” the petition spread by the city says in part. “I’m concerned that this is going to be expensive and that I’m going to have to pay for those additional costs, and I can’t afford it.  This is not fair to our hard-working residents and small business owners who strive to make Riverside a great place to live, work, and play.”


Related links

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Riverside needs new substation, transmission lines



The California Independent System Operator ordered Riverside and Southern California Edison to install a second connection to the state power grid in 2006. That organization’s vice president of infrastructure, Keith Casey, is the source of Jurupa Valley’s claim that Riverside would pay only 1.04 to 1.07 percent of the cost.
The administrative law judge overseeing the case has received testimony from Riverside and Edison and has given opponents until May 31 to submit testimony. A hearing with no public testimony is scheduled for Aug. 6, 7 and 8, with a proposed decision expected between September and December. Within 30 days of the proposed decision, the Public Utilities Commission will make a final decision on the project.
The Jurupa Unified School District board also passed a resolution Monday, March 11, opposing the project. The resolution cites studies suggesting electrical wires can increase the occurrence of cancer, as well as affect property values, and says putting all the wires underground would be environmentally better.

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