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Ken Spear, project manager of SCE's Lugo-Pisgah upgrade project, discusses the project during a workshop in Hesperia last Thursday evening. SCE is currently in the planning and comment stage of the project, which is expected to start construction in 2014.

SCE officials describe transmission line project

Potentially affected Hesperia residents ask about rights of way, project time line

Star Editor

A small group of Hesperia residents got a glimpse of Southern California Edison’s plans to upgrade 67 miles of transmission line during a public workshop on Thursday evening.

About 60 of the 600 who were notified by mail of SCE’s proposal listened as SCE officials described alternate routes, showed time lines and answered questions during the two-hour event at the Percy Bakker Community Center in Hesperia.

“It’s really very early in the planning process,” Nancy Jackson, region manager for Newberry Springs, Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley, said as the meeting was about to get underway. “For most of the project we’re going to be using our existing footprint. We’re going to be doing everything we can to be the least impactful.”

The Lugo-Pisgah Renewable Transmission Corridor Project will begin with the construction of a new 70-acre Lugo substation site near Escondido Avenue south of Ranchero Road. For 51 miles of the project ending near Newberry Springs, the new line and taller towers can be installed in its existing corridor. However, about 16 miles of the project from the Hesperia substation to Lucerne Valley must be rerouted to accommodate the larger upgraded transmission line and taller towers, project manager Ken Spear told the audience.

“For that segment of the project we’re going to be looking at alternatives,” he said.

The upgrade will entail replacing existing 220 kilovolt transmission line with 500 kV line. Taller towers up to 250 feet high will replace shorter existing towers of less than 100 feet. The improvements will pave the way for connecting the new Calico Solar Project near Newberry Springs with the SCE system.

SCE, which serves southern and central California, is planning on investing more than $21 billion over the next five years to expand and improve its system, according to officials.

“Where’s the $21 billion coming from?” one workshop attendee asked an official during the question and answer period of the meeting.

“It’s the ratepayers,” the official answered, adding that a portion of SCE’s rate structure pertains to capital improvements.

Other questions from the audience included a question from Councilman Russ Blewett, who inquired about a proposal to turn the former Hesperia and Victorville dump into energy generating sites.

“We could easily handle that (50 megawatt project),” Spear said.

Longtime Hesperia resident Jeanne Helsley, whose Hesperia property currently has an SCE tower on it, asked if the tower would be removed. The official said SCE would likely retain the existing easement and keep the tower up.

Following the planning and comment portion of the project, SCE is expected to submit applications to both the California Public Utilities Commission and Bureau of Land Management. The proposed project also must meet California Environmental Quality Act requirements. Construction is expected to begin in 2014 with completion in 2017.

“This is a very, very robust and comprehensive process we go through before we can even draw lines on a map,” Spear said.

Those with more questions about the SCE project can contact Hesperia region manager Jennifer Menjivar at (760) 951-3281 or Jennifer.Menjivar@sce.com.


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