Green Power Project Jolts Citizens

July 20, 2011 - By admin

JULY 20, 2011

By KATY GRIMES

In the Southern California city of Chino Hills, there is a palpable anger spreading as the landscape is changing from bedroom community to industrial park. The bedroom community landscape now includes 200-foot electrical towers near homes, churches and parks.

The Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project has had many of the 76,000 Chino Hills residents up in arms, but they are now left feeling impotent against one of the largest power providers in the state. Residents are watching helplessly as the installation of new massive electricity towers —  200 feet tall and 60 feet wide — are erected quickly, as close as 40 feet from some residents’ backyards.

Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project will cost a total of $1.8 billion in order to access and construct renewable energy generators from Kern County to western San Bernardino County. The City of Chino Hills has proposed various alternate routes that would move the transmission lines away from residential communities and schools into a local state park area, but were rebuffed by the California Public Utility Commission.

The state’s “green” agenda is behind the push for the 173 miles of new, high-voltage transmission lines and other “renewable” energy power projects. And apparently, some energy projects have been accelerated because of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money — federal stimulus money for “shovel-ready” projects.

Proponents have argued that California’s grid must be updated to be able to carry renewable energy throughout the state as mandated by the Legislature. But, as energy experts have testified around the country, there is no reason why new transmission lines would necessarily carry more or cleaner power as solar and wind power have proven to be unreliable. The cheapest, most abundant power remains coal, which is likely to continue powering the bulk of California’s electricity.

Renewable Energy Mandate

The Tehachapi project is under construction in response to the California Renewable Portfolio Standard, which was mandated by the Legislature and signed into law on April 12, 2011 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, authored SB 2, which mandates the increase of California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 33 percent by 2020. The mandate requires regulated sellers of electricity to procure 33 percent of their total energy supplies from certified renewable resources.

Opponents of the renewable mandate say that this will increase California’s energy costs by $7 billion, sparking a dramatic increase in the cost to the state’s utility rate payers.

In 2009, the California Public Utilities Commission warned the Legislature that increasing the renewables standard would cost utility companies in the state “tens of billions of dollars” and boost electricity costs to ratepayers. In its 2009 Legislative Summary, the CPUC wrote about Democratic Sen. Joe Simitian’s previous bill, SB 14, “[A]s drafted this measure would make it more difficult and costly to achieve this very important goal,” and it “adds new regulatory hurdles to permitting renewable resources in the state, at the same time limiting the importation of cost-effective renewable energy from other states in the West.”

Unfortunately, once the RPS bill was signed into law, all bets were off and energy producers have no choice but to comply — and ratepayers no choice but to pay.

Singing a contrasting tune to the 2009 report to the Legislature, on March 14 2011 CPUC President Michael Peevey told a legislative committee that the CPUC is continuing to push on the renewable standard. He added, “I think the state can go to 40 percent renewables by 2020.”

And now Chino Hills appears to be the sacrificial energy lamb.

In October 2010, Southern California Edison (SCE) contractors began removing the old, mostly idle, 200 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines and installing new, beefier, 500 kV transmission lines. But many residents have been complaining that the power towers are too close to homes and worry about living so closely to electro-magnetic frequencies and radiation.

Southern California Edison Project

The application for the Tehachapi project was filed in 2007 and approved in 2009. During the ensuing years, the PUC held public hearings.

Residents who attended the public hearings explained that at the heart of the issue is the easement route now being accessed by SCE.  The easements and existing towers had been  inactive for 40 years.

SCE is now building on the easement route that has legally been their right-of-way for many decades, even before any homes were built. However, the old lines and towers on the Chino Hills easement were standard in size and voltage, but have been inactive for the past 40 years.

Most residents with historical knowledge of the area said there was a common belief that SCE did not have plans ever to use the easement or old power lines — until the Tehachapi project.

Where this belief becomes reality is that in the ensuing 40 years, communities and homes were built around the inactive easement, all with the appropriate approval and permits issued by the County of San Bernardino.

Several residents indicated it was widely assumed that any future energy upgrades would include standard sized towers previously used, along with “standard” voltage.  Residents said that they never imagined the 200-foot tall, 500 kV towers  now part of the 150-foot easement.

The residents of Chino Hills said they have only been asking for an alternative route and more time to develop a better and safer plan. Given that Chino hills spent $2.4 million on experts, lawyers and specialty engineers to fight SCE to develop an alternate route through the Chino Hills State Park — approved by environmentalists and other agencies — they felt would get attention from the CPUC.

However, the CPUC has summarily dismissed the concerns of the residents over the interest of visitors to the local state park. This excerpt from CPUC’s Final Decision for the project is one of the stated reasons why they dismissed Chino Hills’ alternate routes through the Chino Hills State Park:

“The Chino Hills State Park is an important regional resource serving at least 97,000 visitors each year. One key purpose of parklands is to serve ‘as a natural respite for the area’s human inhabitants,’ which clearly heightens the importance of visual impacts. Hence, visitors to parks would be more greatly impacted by visual impacts than similarly situated residents, and there are more visitors to the CHSP than there are residents of Chino Hills.”

The CPUC showed blatant disregard for the permanent residents of Chino Hills in favor of occasional visitors to the state park. Denise Cattern, Public Information Officer for the City of Chino Hills, said it was the residents who lobbied for the state park. and use it extensively.

Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project

Upon completion, SCE says the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project will provide renewable wind-generated electricity and help meet California’s renewable energy goals.

However, even while SCE was shepherding the project through the tedious environmental-impact process, residents protested and appealed the PUC’S  decisions to allow SCE to install the 500kV High Voltage Power Lines so close to homes and parks.

“They are 200 feet tall — higher than the Statue of Liberty — and are placed next to people’s homes,” Chino Hills resident Irene Udo said in a recent interview. “We are the only city in the USA to have this type of power line running through residential homes.” And Udo expressed the concern held by many in the city about electromagnetic fields. “The EMF research is quite powerful,” she said.

Despite public hearings, residents said the “Tehachapi Clean Energy Project” was jammed down their throats by the PUC and SCE, with blanket approval of each phase of the project. Residents as well as city officials I spoke with said the CPUC and SCE were in lockstep about the scope and direction of the project from the inception, leaving residents to feel that even the public hearing process was just a formality.

SCE Public Information Officer Paul Klein said, “SCE has been a leader in renewable energy” and already generates 19 percent of the energy it produces from renewable sources. “We are already ahead in the renewable area.” Klein explained that the Tehachapi project includes 173 miles of new transmission lines with the goal of providing 4,500 megawatts of renewable electricity generation. “Renewable  energy has to be addressed,” he said.

The city of Chino Hills has fought SCE over the increase in size of the towers as well as the 150-foot easement grandfathered into their city. “Outside of Chino Hills, throughout the rest of the project the easement is 250 feet,” said Cattern. “And 500 kV is not typical. It’s a crazy amount of high voltage for a residential area.” Cattern emphasized, “This isn’t just ‘I don’t want power lines in my backyard.’”

Cattern said that the city has spent $2.4 million trying to get the PUC to require SCE to honor a 250-foot easement or re-routing the line, as well as questioning the high voltage. And the city has made numerous alternative proposals for the project.

For clarification, Wikipedia states, “Electric power transmission or ‘high voltage electric transmission’ is the bulk transfer of electrical energy, from generating power plants to substations located near population centers. This is distinct from the local wiring between high voltage substations and customers, which is typically referred to as electric power distribution. Transmission lines, when interconnected with each other, become high voltage transmission networks.”

Energy Experts

Chino Hills hired energy and electricity experts to testify on behalf of the residents of the city at the CPUC hearings. During testimony, experts said SCE “significantly understated the potential maximum levels of the electric and magnetic fields along Segment 8A.”

California State University Sacramento Transmission Engineering Professor Turan Gonen told the CPUC, “To arrive at its calculation of magnetic fields at the edge of the right of way, SCE estimated the magnetic fields from the proposed line based only upon the initial amount of electricity the lines are expected to carry in the near future. But the capacity of the lines is actually four times higher than the value SCE assumed in calculating the magnetic field.”

Gonen warned that, as demand grows for electricity in Southern California, the transmission lines will likely carry electricity at their capacity. “The result is that the people living next to the lines in Chino Hills, as well as those in Chino and Ontario, could be exposed to magnetic fields as high as 110 mG […] on a temporary or sustained basis rather than the 27 mG estimated by SCE.”

The other issue is the 150-foot easement. “Throughout the 173-mile TRTP project, the only segment with such a narrow 150-foot ROW (right of way) is the segment through Chino Hills, Chino and Ontario that includes the 3.5 miles of densely populated neighborhoods in Chino Hills, Gonen said and wrote in testimony to the PUC. And SCE admits that there is only one example in the United States where homes abut double-circuit 500 kV lines in a 150-foot right of way. In that case, the property owners had a choice about living next to the lines because the lines were there first — this is not the case in Chino Hills.”

SCE’s Klein said they went through “a very long and thorough review process by the PUC,” and “there was extensive public access.” According to SCE, “Thousands of residents were contacted by SCE and the CPUC about the five to seven miles of line going through Chino Hills.”

It appears that there was a long review process. However, nothing changed for Chino Hills. They are still left with the installation of the 200-foot electrical towers and high capacity power lines next to homes.

According to Chino Hills residents, conflicting information has not been resolved. “Why are they not allowed to build these power poles within 300 yards of a school (250 kV lines), but yet they can put 500 kV lines directly over our homes?” one resident sent in an email. “You can’t even have a pacemaker and be near one of these things, and it’s been proven that florescent bulbs will light up” if held near a tower. “People are writing us from Europe saying the only places these 500 kV lines are being allowed is in the countryside.”

SCE and the PUC

The Tehachapi project is part of the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) process, a statewide initiative created to “identify the transmission projects needed to accommodate the renewable energy goals and mandates, support future energy policy, and facilitate transmission corridor designation and transmission and generation siting and permitting.”

It appears to be a process to identify how to acquire federal money for renewable energy projects in the state.

According to one energy expert who asked to remain anonymous, some of the projects for consideration are necessary and some are not. There are many energy experts who agree that the Tehachepi project is important for wind development. However, experts question how the projects are doing financially because of financing issues and environmentalist challenges.

Wind projects always have a” raptor component”;  the turbines kill hundreds of golden eagles and other protected raptors every year, resulting in lawsuits and shutting down the wind farms.

On October 12, 2009, Federal Energy Secretary Ken Salazar and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed what they called “a model of federal-state initiative and cooperation” which created “expedited review” and processing and Recovery Act funding to spur the development of “environmentally appropriate” renewable energy on U.S. lands in California.

Then through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,  the federal stimulus program, President Obama and Congress made $41 million available “to facilitate a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of renewables on public lands.” The Act directs economic stimulus funding to qualified renewable energy projects that begin construction by December 1, 2010.

The Tehachapi project was started in October 2010.

With so much federal money in the mix, there is much more at stake than SCE or the CPUC appear to be admitting to. The outcome appears to have been decided at the outset of the project, as happens with so many large-scale projects.

But the residents of Chino Hills have valid concerns and appear to have been railroaded by another big octopus. There is still time to halt the project and look at the viable alternatives proposed by the city, which it does not appear has been done with any sincerity by the CPUC.

In a thoughtful letter published in the Orange County Register after the CPUC approved SCE’s Tehachapi project, Mayor Ed Graham spelled out what the citizens of Chino Hills have been going through: “Southern California Edison, hiding under the cloak of delivering politically correct ‘green energy,’ can get the CPUC’s approval to build anything on their existing rights-of-way with complete disregard for people impacted along the way and even disregard for their own standards. Our entire community is permanently disfigured by the CPUC’s decision.”

Graham warned that any California city or town could be next, and asks how the CPUC could possibly be fulfilling its mission of providing “reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy.”

 

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Comments(58)
  1. Chrisanne Goodwin says:

    Thank you for publishing such an informative article about something so important not only to the citizens of Chino Hills but to all citizens who potentially can have this happen in their neighborhoods. The mere site of these obtrusive, obnoxious Monster Towers each and every day in our community has ruined the beauty of our city. The concern about loss of property value and most of all tremendous concerns over the possible health issues especially for our children weighs heavy on our minds. We sincerely appreciate the very well written article.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Katy, thank you for writing this report and bringing attention to this abuse of government power. This is a perfect example of how big corporate monopolies use government to promote their own agenda at the expense of individual rights. Ordinary people are compelled to pay the taxes and utility rates and are not really represented by their politicians at all. It appears that individuals are losing their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. The public needs to wake up–these government programs are not to serve the people, but to line the pockets of the elite. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

  3. Margot Mackessy says:

    Katy,
    Thank you so much for publishing this article! It was very informative and really touched on the concerns the citizens in our city have regarding these massive towers being placed so close to our homes. It saddens me deeply that big corporate monopolies like SCE can not see or understand what they are actually doing to our city and the citizens who live here.

  4. Robbie Joshua says:

    Thank you for taking the time to publish an informative article. We’ve lived in Chino Hills for the past 14 years, and one of the main reasons we bought here was because of the beautiful landscape and peaceful surroundings. This has all been negatively affected by the intrusion of these large and dangerous Monster Towers. We, as Citizens of this community have had our rights jeopardized, and it appears that no matter how loud we “scream”, our cries go unheeded. I wonder if the elite who have made this decision, would want this same intrusion in their neighborhood.

  5. Jan says:

    Dear Ms. Grimes, your article was well-research, precise and to the point. I hope every person that had a hand in allowing the 500KV power lines to be installed in heavily populated areas reads this. I hope anyone that may be able to have a hand in helping to right this gross injustice will read your article and step forward. I also hope that people living and working in the cities where the poles will appear next will read this and join Chino Hills in their fight. If you live in Chino, Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights, and Duarte, among others, take special notice! You are next. Don’t sit back and think this won’t affect you. Haven’t your property values already gone down enough? Go to the facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-SCE-Power-Lines-in-Chino-Hills/ for information on how to get involved. Again, thank you Ms. Grimes!

  6. Robert says:

    Good article and it’s unbelievable that this can happen. SCE obviously has no conscience; greed and the mighty dollar are clearly what’s important!

  7. BS says:

    I believe this article accurately reflects the frustration of residents, it is, however, incredibly one-sided. For instance, citing only the “facts” of opponents to renewable energy, and using Wikipedia for background information. It was NOT just the politicians that decided this project could proceed. The Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, CA Fish and Game, the US Army Corp of Engineers, and scores of qualified biologists (not “environmentalists” as you put it, but people who hold advanced degrees in the sciences), all took part in the preparation of the project and continue to make management decisions. Will one of these decisions be to tear down the poles that have been already erected and route the line through a nearby state park? Nope.

  8. Bob says:

    Thank you, Katy, for shedding a bright light on this travesty and miscarriage of power by an autonomous board,the CPUC, with the support and influence of SCE. This is but another example of a government agency/public utility abusing their authority. By their own guidelines and governance, SCE has ignored the common sense and community responsibility they should be required to consider. They have asserted their “power” and developed a plan that makes no sense to anyone but the “elite” who have their own agenda. This agenda has NOTHING to do with decency or community concerns. These types of decisions are easy to make when you do not have to defend them. Both the CPUC and SCE members should have to stand up and face reality and see what their blind decisions have done to the community as a whole.

  9. Jamie says:

    Thank you for helping the city of Chino Hills get our voices heard… This is a great article.. well written and most of all the TRUTH! Thank you for helping others see that Chino Hills is not complaining about looks or as some put it “acting like spoiled brats” but instead showing others we are residents, mothers who are concerned for the health and well being our community.. our children!!! Thank you again <3

  10. CalWatchdog says:

    The information for this article came from talking with self-described “environmentalists,” city employees, residents, SCE employees, as well as documents obtained from the CPUC and SCE. And Wikipedia was used as stated, only to help explain how the electrical power generated by the towers.

    -Katy

  11. David from Oceanside says:

    BS States: The Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, CA Fish and Game, the US Army Corp of Engineers, and scores of qualified biologists (not “environmentalists” as you put it, but people who hold advanced degrees in the sciences), all took part in the preparation of the project and continue to make management decisions.

    How can anyone justify anything with the opinion of Fish and Wildlife Service and Corp of Engineers? Has there ever been a government agency that is not thoroughly political, inefficient, inept, corrupt and full with those causing harm while waiting out the days to their next paid holiday and lavish pension?

    If you want to challenge this fine article you will have to do better than this.

  12. Irene says:

    Thanks Katy for your well-researched and insightful article. You intelligently and articulately encapsulated so much information into your story. Yes, we feel impotent against a big powerhouse. There are now so many For Sale signs. Unfortunately, they will not be able to sell OR they will sell at a SIGNIFICANT discount. These towers have stripped the serenity we enjoyed so much within this community. How can these companies get away with mutilating property values while they gain financially? As Michael Josephson from the Institute of Ethics stated “there’s a difference between a need and a desire”. Obviously, the route through Chino Hills was based solely on desire. They had an option to select the less damaging route through a NON-HUMAN ENVIRONMENT but THEY CHOSE NOT TO! This is obvious if one reads the CPUC’s Final Decision excerpt (within your story) wherein the Chino Hills State Park “visitors” were extended more consideration than the “permanent” residents of Chino Hills! Any objective person reading this excerpt will acknowledge the CPUC was COMPROMISED.

  13. Esmeralda says:

    Thank you Katy for speaking loudly on behalf of the Chino Hills community. We feel utterly disregarded with the SCE and CPUC decision to place these massive 500KV poles right by our houses where we dwell in daily as our place of rest. I am so truly grateful with this well explained article.

  14. Lenore says:

    Thank you Katy for writing an article shedding light on this tremendous burden that has been placed on the citizens of Chino Hills. What SCE and CPUC fail to recognize is the trickle down affect this has on people. My husband and I are 87 yrs old. Our daughter begged and pleaded with us for 3yrs to move to Chino Hills to be near her to live at Aegis Retirement Community and leave our home where we resided for 40yrs. We finally made the move 1yr ago. Now my daughter and son in-law are grappling with the decision to quickly put their home for sale and move out of Chino Hills where they have lived for 30yrs before the power lines go up and their home losses even more value. They don’t know what to do….move and leave us stranded in Chino Hills without them or wait and not sell their home and take a chance they will never be able to sell it. There are many, many stories such as ours across the city that have devastating consequences. By the way, we used to have a beautiful view out of our apartment window but now we look at a 200ft power pole. Thanks SCE.

  15. Kimberly says:

    Katy, thank you so much for your work on this article. We Chino Hills residents are not against renewable energy or the ultimate goal of the CPUC; we just want our concerns reasonably addressed. According to the CPUC’s dismissal, they don’t want to visually impact park visitors but are willing to impact situated residents. I purposefully chose my residence to be free from high-voltage transmission lines and electromagnetic fields and felt helpless when I saw the towers go up. But as people like you and the residents of Chino Hills continue to speak up, we pray for a chance to make a difference in our community.

  16. Evelyn says:

    To BS: With all due respect to your comment, please ask yourself this *COMMON SENSE* question: “WOULD I WANT THESE POLES PLANTED IN MY OWN BACKYARD???”.
    To Katy: Thank you for your care to the Chino Hills people in writing this article.

  17. tiffany says:

    Check out the issues going on near Carlsbad Elementary School. There is a cluster of students getting lukemia and they think it is due to the power lines that are just like the ones being put in in Chino Hills.
    If I were in your all’s situation, I would move asap!! The government is not always honest about the effects of things they impose upon us. I am so sorry you all have to deal with this!!
    Aloha!!

  18. Nancy says:

    Very informative article. Would have liked to have seen more coverage regarding the negetive(positive? probably none) effects of the tranmission/ electromagnetic fields on being so close to homes. What will homeowners and visitors experience when they go “live”? I hope the homes will not lose property value, but it will probably happen.

  19. Carol says:

    When these lines go “live” they will emit a constant buzzing crackling sound that may be heard inside the homes and will definitely disrupt enjoyment of any outdoor activities. These towers are an atrocity perpetrated by SCE and the PUC for many reasons, greed and corruption being the main ones. I do not live in the area but have a relative who does and am glad she no longer has little children living with her. There are so many who do. Chidren will be the ones most adversely affected by the electric fields. I hope the appeals judges spend some time in the area in order to really understand the negative affects. If they don’t, they don’t deserve the honor of being judges. All those poor people whose homes are now worthless, I am so angry for you. For those who think “it’s not my problem” remember if it can happen to Chino Hills, it can happen anywhere. You may wake up tomorrow with an atrocity outside your window.

  20. Harry T says:

    Katy, this is an awesome article. I hope and pray that the CPUC and SCE executives will view this article as a reality check and apply the simple golden rule “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”. Their decision has brought distress and oppression in our community!

  21. Raphael says:

    SCE and the way they are destroying Chino Hills (and many other city’s) with their massive 200 FT towers is insane!!!
    Chino Hills was a beautiful rural looking place, just beautiful, but not no more! SCE put up these 200 foot towers right down the middle of the city with no regard for human life.

    These massive towers cary 500,000 watts, more wattage than any towers in the US and they are right next to homes!!

    SCE could of easily moved the route but they didn’t care what the city & people wanted and still put the towers down the heart of the town.

    And if that weren’t enough (using families as gini pigs) the home vales are now plummeting!
    SCE is as evil as it gets, they know many people (KIDS) will now get Leukemia cause of their blatant disregard of human life and their hunger for the almighty dollar!

    SCE should be ashamed but I know they aren’t cause you have to have heart and soul to feel ashamed, and SCE has neither!

    Raphael
    Chino Hills Resident

  22. Theo L says:

    This article clearly articulates the heart ache and pain of the Chino Hills community. We hope this article can bring public awareness that our concerns should be heard. That the SCE only concerns of the cost effectiveness to run through the power lines across densely populated houses and the community is paying their “low expenditure” “expensively” with their lives at risk.

  23. steve says:

    we should united together to remonstrate , hold a protest rally.i will fight .because i believe the fifth amendment of the united states constitution provides that “no people shall be deprived of life. liberty.or property, without due process of law,nor shall private property be taken for public use ,without just compensation.this project is in SCE land. but it will cause severance damages to the nearby community. acorrding to the California civil jury institutions CACI. this project will make many properties severance damages.SCE should stop or compensate. some houses can never sell. how can we tolerate this .we should do something.

  24. Karen Schmidt says:

    That old saying “not in my backyard” comes to mind. Then you realize how the law protects the decisions of local utilities by way of the CPUC and it’s a force bigger than the sum of our wonderful city. It is unbelievable. We have no citizen say so in this matter. We are so hoping the judges ruling on the city’s appeal is in our favor; if only they would come out and see how these have devastated the neighborhoods of Chino Hills. The know-how to put these underground is there, they even had the city’s alternate site, with relatively no impact to humans, rejected. Could we have a vote ??

  25. Frances says:

    Thank you Ms. Grimes for this informative article. I am a mother of two young children, and my main concern is for their health and well-being. As I sat in the appeal hearing regarding this case, I couldn’t help but tear up as I listened to the attorneys discuss the city of chino hills. That is my home, the one my husband and I bought together. The one we came home to after we were married. The one in which we raise our young children. The only home they know. We love our home so that is why we believe strongly in what we do and fight as we must to protect what we love.

  26. Joanne says:

    Thank you for the very informative and stated article Katy. Glad that you included the Wikipedia background information about transmission lines. On SCE’s website, this is how they describe their Transmission Lines: “These are large lines on metal towers. They are often compared to freeways because they transfer huge amounts of electricity over long distances.” So Freeways are okay to be 40-75 ft. to residental homes, churches, and parks? Let’s see how long SCE keeps that description on their website. “We the People” have been thrown aside by the CPUC, SCE, and many politicians for their own profit and to accomplish the state mandated renewable energy goals.

  27. Theodore Crutchfield says:

    We have been there and have seen them and watched them grow. They are like alien’s…and they keep growing from one visit to the next! I sure wouldn’t want them in our backyard let along around our Grandchildren in Chino Hills.

  28. Jackie says:

    Katy, thank you so much for this great article! Thank you for taking the time to do such extensive research and for speaking the truth. We will not give up the fight. We have worked too hard for our families and homes to let a big corporation simply smash them to the ground. We do have a voice and we will be heard! It’s time to expose SCE’s and CPUC’s greed and corruption.

  29. Corey says:

    I heard about these giant poles going up in Chino Hills and had to take a little tour to see them for myself. This is insane! Are the people at SCE and the CPUC completely void of common sense and decency? I read your article and as compelling as it is, until I saw these poles for myself, I couldn’t completely appreciate the concerns of the residents of Chino Hills. To turn beautiful neighborhoods into something more like an industrial area is nuts. Green energy doesn’t have to be at the expense of the people it is supposed to benefit. I saw the facebook page and I’ll write some letters to.

  30. Elizabeth says:

    I saw your article on the high voltage towers going up in Chino Hills. I had the opportunity to drive by and stopped to look at them. They sure weren’t hard to find! Just look up. Utterly amazing. And sickening. I think of all those people living in their homes, having to deal with this, and just feel sick to heart for them. And to those people that had the power to choose another route but didn’t, the legacy you are leaving behind is a terrible one. Your names should be engraved on each of those poles! I’ve read other articles here, but this is the first one that really got me emotional and outraged. Thank you, Ms. Grimes!

  31. Jeff says:

    I live in Utah and heard about these poles from a neighbor who shared your article with me. He said his friends live in Chino Hills and are fighting giant power poles being erected in their neighborhoods. I got to see some pictures he was sent and saw their fb page too. I think that SCE and CPUC needs to be forced to move into the homes most affected in Chino Hills and see what it feels like. I know that I certainly have worked hard in my life to have a nice home and part of that nice home is the location and surroundings…and that sure doesn’t include giant powerlines marching all over! I saw the names and addresses of people to write to and I will do that. Although I believe it will take an act of God for this wrong to be fixed. It’s a shame that this was allowed to happen.

  32. Jill says:

    Dear Ms. Grimes, are you going to do follow-up articles on this subject? I hope so. Somewhere there must be someone that can make a difference and stop this from happening to those people in Chino Hills. I live in Arizona and heard about the Tehachapi wind project and that led me to what’s happening in CA. I saw in one of the comments a mention about their facebook page and visited it. Those pictures are unbelievable. I can’t imagine what they would look like in person. I keep thinking of that old movie called the “Iron Giant.” And when I googled for more info, I found your article. Learning how they came to be left me in wonder that someone hasn’t already taken these fools to task for giving the go-ahead on doing this to people.

  33. Lynn says:

    Dear Katy, I heard about these poles one day on the news. I just figured they were the kind of powerlines that are all over the place and thought that these people protesting were being selfish and stupid. Then your article was emailed to me by a friend of a friend of a friend. The picture showing the statue of Liberty caught my eye first…then I read the article all the way thru. WTHeck! Really? REALLY? Those big giant things are being built next to homes? Are our politicians nuts? Oh. Wait a minute. Politicians and greedy CEO’s. Poisonous combo. I saw the facebook for these people in Chino Hills and they have people to write to so I will. I’ll share it with others, but really, do these poor folks have any chance at all? Are you going to write more and keep us updated? Maybe I’ll be able to take a drive out there one day to see them in person. Thanks for the article.

  34. Paige B. says:

    I live in Costa Mesa and drove out a few weeks ago to Chino Hills to visit my parents. I drove around the corner off of Eucalyptus onto Morningfield and the first thing I saw ahead of me were these two gigantic poles! OMG! The first I said to them when I got there was “What are those things?!” Mom shared your article and I feel so naieve about things. When I read that it is politicians and the CPUC that let this happen, I was so puzzled. I went to the CPUC website and saw what their mission statement is. Are they kidding. Is that a joke? My mom and dad have lived there for only about 2 1/2 years and have worked hard on their home, getting it fixed up. They did a lot of work themselves and made it so that the family can come out to visit and stay. The backyard was weeds and now it’s landscaped with lots of seating, really beautiful. And now, there’s this horrible iron pole sticking up from the back and from the front, another awful pole. I feel sooo bad for them and for all the others affected. Someone needs to be the hero here and stand up for what is right. They’d get a lot of votes!!!

  35. Margot says:

    Dear Ms. Katy Grimes, I live in Holland. My friend lives in Chino Hills and has been telling me about these powerlines. Over here, powerlines like these are always buried if they come near peopled areas. Otherwise, they be out in the country. The pictures I’ve seen show how ridiculus the people are that let this go on. We always think of the USA as forward thinking. Then we see this kind of thing. Won’t that cause that area to go down in value and eventually be a not very nice area? I feel bad for my friend and for her neighbors. She says they don’t have it as bad as many and her pictures are awful enough. (please forgive my spelling) Sincerely, Margot P.

  36. Nolan says:

    This is an outrage! I grew up in chino hills and have lived here for the past twenty years and can not believe what is going on in my small town! One day we all went off to work like we do every day, and came home to find what once was a beautiful view out of my mothers dining room, to one of the most hideous sights I have ever seen. I work in the la area and notice these huge poles all along the 210 freeway Not near neighborhoods, these poles are in people’s front yards. SCE needs tp press on and find a new spot for these!
    Regards!

  37. bonjerind says:

    Thank you soooo much for this – you have no idea how much we’re searching for something like this to sum up everything that we want to express and say about our concern, our well being that had been destroyed and smashed by the SCE!! They are such a selfish moron buerocrats!! How could they do this without even consulting to us the residence? They did it on purpose and with cold blood!

    Please, for those who cares, post this EVERYWHERE, in the news, yahoo, google, radio stations, everywhere every channel you could possibly think of.

    Let’s hope with this combine efforts we put together, someone, somebody, some channels will eventually listen and post our concern and help us to voice our RIGHTS out LOUD and fight to end this battle with VICTORY.

    Chino Hills!

  38. Vince Perez says:

    What’s truly sad is that the full carrying capacity of these lines may never be needed as more and more heavy industry continues to leave Southern California and electrical power here becomes less reliable. One of the key ingredients to our economic rise here was very reliable and cheap electric power- reliability- that was key: voltage AND frequency (60Hz). Wind and solar generation is notoriously UNRELIABLE and it so happens that our long held strict standard of frequency will need to be relaxed as wind power makes it very difficult to maintain 60 Hz without significant variation. We have bought into an ideology in this state which, ironically, we cannot afford.

  39. Andrew Schmidt says:

    When they start sending power thru these lines and the first death, shock, and god knows what will happen then and only then well SCE say “OH SHIT GUESS THE PEOPLE WHERE RIGHT”
    But then like everything to wake people up it will be to late.
    If any Chino Hills resadents what to see, hear, and feel what only 200 kv power line sounds like and get a small shock just go to El Prado golf course in Chino and stand on # 10 tee box and just think what 3 times as much power will do.

  40. Robert P. says:

    As many others has stated, the article is well written that provided facts not opinion. I will not reiterate what has been said already; however, our Mayor Ed Graham quote hit the nail on the nail head. At this point, since the SCE and PUC essentially have strategized their outcomes notwithstanding the significant displeasure and discontentment of the Chino Hills residents, we should address tactically the “damage control” that we have experienced.

    Our Mayor and the City Council should step forth and address possible opportunities in having the SCE and PUC subsidize the residents financially to minimally bring some satisfaction to the residents – in relative terms.

    The primary issue seems to be related to “hidden action and hidden information” to the residents (young, middle age, and old) of Chino Hills that are impacted by the 200-foot high voltage towers. This impact can only be slightly reduced by subsidizing ALL OF THE RESIDENTS that is within, let say, 300-yards.

    The subsidy should factor the property value by .05% as a payment – monthly or annually. This would minimally recover a portion of the property value for the homes in the general vicinity (i.e., 300-yards) of these towers.

    Let’s ratify a proposal and title it – Green Power Citizens Reform Subsidy (GPCRS). Perhaps, the percentage of the subsidy can be analyzed and appropriately identified by the City of Chino Hills Mayor and the Council Members. The hope is, that one day a line item on our SCE invoice stating GPCRS would provide funding that reduces a resident’s overall SCE bill, as an example.

    Another example, is too simply propose to the County of Los Angeles Assessor and identify opportunities for some type property value subsidy.

    We must do something as a City!

  41. Elizabeth says:

    How can the community defend ourselves with this tyranny? We are not involved with the decision to put through this massive power lines. And now, we are forced to live with this decision for the rest of ourlives? Where is justice for us? Are we now living in a society where power and money triumph over good conscience?

  42. T Ahmed says:

    Distasteful.
    Choose a location in which it would not affect our neighbors, residents, families and the people of the city. I thought the government and the city was supposed to protect us? I feel like they’re hurting us and benefiting from this entirely.

  43. FrankFibelstein says:

    The distinction between using dedicated easements that reduced the cost to the landowners of the property they purchased versus taking of a State Park that was originally a Wilderness Preserve (that would’ve prevented concentrated development within areas adjacent to it) is immense.

    While the individual owners may not like their elected officials so very well now, the future public enjoyment of the State Park lands will not be affected by community electrical needs.

  44. R D says:

    Frank Fibelstein …. Come and have your city destroyed with 200 foot high/500k watts towers and you won’t talk such nonsense …………….

  45. R H says:

    Frank Fibelstein – #1 Not everyone in Chino Hills lives on the “dedicated easements” and OUR home values have been destroyed and our once magnificant views ARE destroyed. #2 The MONSTER TOWERS have destroyed the entire integrity of what Chino Hills was all about. #3 The power provided by these MONSTERS won’t even go to Chino Hills residents #4 I won’t waste any more of my time on you because I suspect you’re an SCE Executive.

  46. Joanne says:

    Frank, I’m not sure if you are aware that Chino Hills State Park already has existing lines there. The alternate proposed route also contained mitigation money, which would have benefited the park. Three of the four environmental groups were on board with the alternate route. As most of know, CH State Park was one of the parks slated to close, because of CA budget cuts, but for now it is off the chopping block. Who knows what California’s budget has in store for the park. The Park’s grief was that they did not want to go through the hassle of changing their General Plan.
    I am a resident of Chino Hills and knowing that I have the opportunity to use the park is great, but for myself and other, we are just visitors. There’s a big difference between visiting and living near the lines.
    As far as the property owners, the property value was not reduced at time of purchase because of the easement, but now many will lose a substantial amount of their property value, because of this project.
    As far as not liking our elected official now, I have never cared for Gov. Brown in the first place. This project is just the tip of the iceberg, since our governor is pushing for 40% renewable energy by 2020. Our state is now at about 17% of the 33% projected goals I’m not sure where you live, but you better look around, it could be your neighborhood next. I hope for your sake, it is not. Have a good day.

  47. Jo Anne says:

    Frank, I’m not sure if you are aware that Chino Hills State Park already has existing lines there. The alternate proposed route also contained mitigation money, which would have benefited the park. Three of the four environmental groups were on board with the alternate route. As most of know, CH State Park was one of the parks slated to close, because of CA budget cuts, but for now it is off the chopping block. Who knows what California’s budget has in store for the park. The Park’s grief was that they did not want to go through the hassle of changing their General Plan.
    I am a resident of Chino Hills and knowing that I have the opportunity to use the park is great, but for myself and other, we are just visitors. There’s a big difference between visiting and living near the lines.
    As far as the property owners, the property value was not reduced at time of purchase because of the easement, but now many will lose a substantial amount of their property value, because of this project.
    As far as not liking our elected official now, I have never cared for Gov. Brown in the first place. This project is just the tip of the iceberg, since our governor is pushing for 40% renewable energy by 2020. Our state is now at about 17% of the 33% projected goals I’m not sure where you live, but you better look around, it could be your neighborhood next. I hope for your sake, it is not. Have a good day.

  48. Janet Goossens says:

    Isn’t Litel Elementary School within 300 yards of either the tower on Morningside or the tower on Garden Court?

  49. Paul Goossens says:

    Thank you for your well stated article. Unfortunately we are seeing the same thing, over and over again, politicians and big business are not in it for the people, they are in it for the money and power. If you see these towers, and the amount of power that will be going through them, noone in their right mind would run them through a neighborhood with children, homes, schools, a day care center, churches and small businesses. But they are. This power line will harm the health of the surrounding people and kill their property values. The sad part is, there are better options. Heck you know they could and would jack up the rates to make us pay for the alternatives anyway. As you can see this project hasn’t captured the interest of the politicians. Have we seen any support from our state officials? We, the voters, better start voting these people out of office, a recall campain might capture their interest It is a shame that our representatives, and big business need to be told what the “right thing” to do is. They can’t figure it out on their own.

  50. Irene says:

    More towers are being erected while our property values continue to be slaughtered. It’s only the beginning of the demise of our community. We are at the beginning of one phase of an uproar. The day wires are placed will set the tone for another wave of outrage!! Then one awful day the lines will become active. Then it’ll be the beginning of a new way of living as we attempt to acclimate to Corona noise/buzzing. The ensuing mental health issues will surely follow. I ultimately pray EMF’s do not result in the feared cancer clusters. This is WRONG on so many levels!! It is unfathomable our government, our politicians and our media is not interested. Katy Grimes is one smart lady!! She is the only politically oriented individual who has felt this issue was worth the time!! How can that be in an era of social media, internet, TV, YouTube and texting? Is there anyone out there who can help us????

  51. Ike says:

    I know I wouldn’t want big power lines put up next to my home but lets be accurate. Every person gets many time for EMF every day from the earth’s magnetic field than these power lines at full capacity. We are bathes in EMF every day and have been thru-out earth’s history.

  52. Linewife says:

    I fully understand how frustrated all the affected residents must be! I would not be very happy and try to learn as much as possible about these transmission lines and health affects. fortunately, I do know a lot about power lines, construction of the towers going up in the neighborhoods and I do agree, they are not the most appealing back drop for a backyard! I do have to disagree to a few of the people that have posted. The technology to install this type of transmission underground, is NOT available. Also, these powerlines will Not be as noisy as you may all think. During a very wet and cloudy day, if you are outside you will without a doubt, hear a little “zing” but you most likely will not hear it while inside your home. As far as being electrocuted by pool fences and such, you may feel a little shock when touching something for the first time, like when you grab hold of a door knob. Not a harmful straight out electricution. As for the long term affects, their is conflicting reports. I do know that for atleast the first five years, the lines will be running at 230 and not at the 500kv capacity. Does this take away all of the heartache you may all be feeling? By all means NO! I understand your frustration! I hope you all understand that! I can understand the frustrations of your community and all communtities involved in this project.I do not in any way, want to dismiss anyones concerns! I have to add a few comments of my own, from my heart and from my own frustrations!I am married to an electrical lineman that is working on the TRTP project. My husbands job is and has been listed for years as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. For 10 years, I have sent my husband, my lineman, to work with fear that it would be the last kiss, hug and goodbye. My husband has worked in areas that had been devistated by storms, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, resulting in My husband recovering the dead from trees and under debris while on the job. My husband has worked in freezing raining weather, for 24 or more hours straight.. with NO break! He has also worked in 120 degree weather coming home after 16 hours with a temperature of 105! My husband has missed the birth of two of our children, many first birthdays, Christmas mornings, total football and baseball seasons and dance competitions that our children have been part of, as a result of his job. His responsability to the people of the united states.If you think that I’m complaining, I’m not! Not many people understand the job, dangers and sacrafices of a lineman.I wish that everyone could understand and see the facts of this job. Over the last year, while on this job… my husband has done his best to make sure not only himself~ but all of his lineman brothers, make it home safely to their families. There has been months at a time during this project that my husband has gone with not one day off, working 12-16 hours a day. This is a result of trying to complete this job in a reasonable amount of time so the residents are not interupted more than necessary. Like I said before, I do not want to dismiss the feelings of ANYONE! I have to say that I do feel the need to express on behalf of all electrical lineman and their families how upset and confused we are at the fact that the men doing this very dangerous job, at times, hanging from a helicopter, have had threats made on their lives!Guns have been pulled and shots fired! Why? Because my husband and other selfless men like him, are doing their jobs!Do you use a hair dryer? wash your clothing with an electrical washer and dryer? Is a loved one dependant on an electrical device for life? Do you enjoy using your air conditioning and pools in the summer months? What about your computer, T.V. or cd player? The night lights that keep your children feeling safe at night or the bathroom light at the end of the hallway that keeps you from tripping over the edge of your bed? What about the security lights and systems that help keep the bad guys from hurting your loved ones or invading your home? Most everyone enjoys a date night! Dinner and a movie anyone? Instead of getting out of your car to open your garage door, do you just push a button and pull in? Is your sprinkler system set to water your beautiful lawn? When you are running late or get home late from work, do you pop something into the microwave to feed yourself and family? Do you use an electrical bottle warmer for a newborn baby? Have a sore muscle that needs a heating pad? Have you or a loved one needed medical treatment or surgery to save your life? What about the refrigerator that keeps your food and beer cold? All these things from luxuries to life sustaining items and necessities are possible because of a lineman! My husband leaves his family every work day not knowing if he will see us again, kiss his babies goodnight or be able to walk his daughters down the isle in the future. I only ask one thing of everyone and anyone, that is upset about this project. PLEASE take a second thought before you make a picket sign, line up and yell ubsenities to working lineman or go even further by making horrible threats or worse… trying to hurt someone that is just doing a job. Their job, at this stage and level, have no cotrol over where and when the towers are erected! Please remember, without an electrical lineman, this life that we all have come to enjoy and rely on….would be impossible! I love my lineman and I consider him a hero…

  53. IC says:

    To Linewife…

    Anyone threatening to hurt individuals on this project or anywhere is WRONG!! I’d never condone such behavior and I’d suspect 99.9% of the residents would concur. Unfortunately, there are unstable individuals in this world and many innocent people fall victim to irrational behavior every day. I sympathize with your worrying!!

    I VERY MUCH appreciate the 230kv for the 1st five years comment. Assuming you are correct, and the lines aren’t energized for another 2 years (from what we hear), we have a 7 year window. My son will have gone through puberty by then. Yes…that’s what comes to mind and honestly, it provides me some comfort. So now I go forward wondering if you are accurate in your representation. Did your husband provide this “fact”? Can we see it on paper? Is it a guarantee?

    We all realize the EMF studies fall in the “TBD” category but none of us want to be involuntarily used as guinea pigs. Many groups will be sitting idly by as the years pass so they can analyze the cancer clusters of our community (if any). At least society will finally know, right….WRONG!!

    We also don’t appreciate these groups stealing from us. Yes, they are lining their pockets while stripping residents of their ability to sell their home or sell for a non-discounted price. MANY high end homes have particular type buyers. This type of buyer will never choose to live next to a monstrous and questionable power line. Would you? People’s net worth has been compromised during an already depressed economy.

    I appreciate you reaching out and providing perspective but what bothers this community the most is KNOWING the CPUC/SCE could have opted to go through the Chino Hills State Park. Instead, they opted for the route which would provide them with the most bonuses and funding. These callous entities opted to NEGATIVELY IMPACT property values, city revenue, quality of life and long-term mental/physical health. Where are the agencies created to watch over manipulation, collusion and greed?

  54. Mike says:

    Dear Linewife, your posting reads like a “feel sorry for ME!” diatribe. We all carry burdens. I’ve been to all of our protests and have to see anyone yell obscenities at a lineman. You behave as if your husband (and you wrote that word too many times to count) is the only person in the world with an unappreciated job. Plus, it isn’t only the health considerations at work here. Every home along the easement and any home within sight of these wires and poles, and they number in the thousands, will lose value. Some already have. And who needs to have the value of their homes reduced even further in today’s market. Because of the men doing this work, each of us that has been so drastically affected should just sit quietly by and let it happen? I don’t think so. Yes, it is terrible that there are those out there that will behave in unacceptable ways during a protest, but they are the exception and not the rule. These towering poles are hitting us where we live, not just figuratively. All the examples of EMF’s are great. But the REALITY is that these poles and lines should NEVER have been built through a community of homes and schools when there are ALTERNATE routes that could have been taken. You CANNOT JUSTIFY what is happening in our city…and soon to happen to others along the corridor. Precedent is being set. If the poles stay, we will see these horrible disfiguring monsters all over our country. How backward thinking is THAT. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and look at the BIGGER picture. Your husband is working. Many in Chino Hills are struggling to hold onto their homes…homes that they can no longer sell. You are taking this way too personally. Step back a few paces, take a deep breath and enjoy your life and husband and family and allow your husband to develop a “Teflon” skin in his life. Being yelled at a few times is nothing compared with what people in Chino Hills are facing. He will move on to other sites. These poles may well be here FOREVER.

  55. Linewife says:

    MIKE, excuse me if you felt I was feeling sorry for myself! Actually, I was feeling sorry for all the men working in this project that have been shot at and that have received death threats!!! YES, I know the danger of my husbands job … And no matter how you feel, it is GREAT! do you know the statistics on death and major injury in this field? For years I have gone over and over in my head how I would tell my 5 children that Their daddy is in heaven, if that is what our good LORD has planned for my family. Excuse me if I can’t get a grasp on the fact that my husband could possibly be KILLED by someone upset about an eye sore going up in their neighborhood! If you guys are so worried about the dangers of EMF, you should build a bubble and contain yourselves in it! EMF surrounds us..Every electrical device that is plugged in distribution lines leading into your neighborhood connecting to your home. The transformer in front of your neighbors home. Smoke cigarettes? Drink beer? Fly in planes? Use a cell phone? You better stop doing that as well! There is danger involved! Your house values went down? That easement was there way before any homes. Do some research, this project was a vision of many people since the early 80′s! Before I married my HUSBAND, I wouldn’t think twice about them. Now, honestly, I have grown to adore them and the hard work that is put into every stage of delivering electricity. I don’t take it for granted. Maybe SoCal Edison should disconnect all power to that area.. See how fast you all think you need it than! Sorry if I sound harsh, but YOU say im feeling sorry for myself?? Did you read your post?

    IC, I understand your fears, I’m a mother of 5. As a wife to a man that is exposed up close and personal, I have done the research on EMF. it is so inconclusive, if I worried about the what if’s in the world, It would drive me to insanity! I will look for written proof for you on the time line that the power lines will NOT run at full capacity! The substations and switching stations in the area, from my understanding, are not equipped for 500kv. This Project is being upgraded for the future expansion of the wind energy, everything needs to be upgraded before it can handle the 500kv load.

    Like I said before, Im sorry this is happening to your community! Think what you want about me from my post… May God Bless you all and give you peace as this project progresses!

  56. Sam says:

    Unfortunately, I have just become aware of this situation with SCE’s ridiculous proposal and construction of these power towers. I do reside in Chino Hills, and luckily I am not affected by these monstrosities,….for now. I am the lucky few.

    To “Linewife”:
    I feel for these residents, and by all means they have all the rights in the world to defend their homes and their City from political backdoors deals, greed, and callous from SCE. It’s obvious you really don’t understand the magnitude of what’s going on here. There is more to all this than just “green” projects. When the Governor of California, politicians, and companies are involved do you honestly think they’re really looking out for your best interest? If you do, I have a magic lantern that will grant you three wishes for just $100. Cash please.

    I stand beside my neighbors because they are just that…my neighbors and my City. And I hope we win this fight, and shut down your naive notion of “progress”.

    The world does not revolve around you nor should you plead for us to. You should do your community a favor and move. Property value also tends to lower when your neighbors are of below average intelligence…

  57. Linewife says:

    Sam, The community that I live in gets along just fine with my intelligence. Our property values are great as well.. In fact, much higher than Chino Hills. I’m blessed to be raising our family in such an affluent area.
    I’m sorry you feel that you have to put me down in your comments. You know NOTHING about me so I’m not taking anything you say to heart. In fact, im saddened for you.
    May God Bless you and take some of the obvious hatred out of your heart!

  58. Ken says:

    SCE should be ashamed of their business practices. It is evident the only thing they truly care about it their bottom line. I get it, businesses are meant to be profitable but not at the expense of the health, safety and well-being of their consumers.

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