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Utility Attempting to Revive Power Line Plan

June 21, 2008

By Ed Taylor, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.

Jun. 21–Southern California Edison, the largest electric utility in California, will hold a series of open houses next week to explain a power line project that has drawn heavy static from Arizona regulators and environmentalists.

The Devers-Palo Verde 2 project is a 225-mile high-voltage line running from the Palo Verde hub west of Phoenix to the Devers substation near Palm Springs, Calif. Running parallel to an existing line, it is designed to transport electricity produced at natural-gas generating plants in Arizona to Southern California.

Arizona critics of the $680 million project say it would result in greater air pollution and water consumption in the Grand Canyon State to benefit consumers in California. Also, the line would cross a wildlife refuge in western Arizona.

The Arizona Corporation Commission rejected the 97-mile Arizona portion of the project in June 2007. But the California utility is attempting to revive the line under a law that allows federal regulators to override decisions of state regulators if a power line is located in a designated national-interest corridor.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave such a designation to a wide swath of western Arizona and Southern California earlier this year. The California utility has filed preliminary papers with the federal agency in preparation for a formal application in early 2009. But it would prefer to resolve the case with the Arizona commission, said project manager Marco Ahumada.

He said SCE could file a revised application with the ACC early next year.

To make the project more palatable to Arizonans, he said SCE might build a new switch yard in the Harquahala Valley.

CONTACT WRITER: (480) 898-6537

or etaylor@evtrib.com

Open houses

Southern California Edison will host open houses on the Devers-Palo Verde 2 project at:

–Quartzite — 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Quartzite Elementary School, 930 W. Quail Trail.

–Phoenix — 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the Best Western Central Phoenix Inn, 1100 N. Central Ave.

–Tonopah — 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Ruth Fisher Elementary School, 38201 W. Indian School Road.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.

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