The Tehachapi project, a series of new and upgraded high-voltage transmission lines spanning 173 miles, will safely deliver enough energy to power approximately 3 million homes when it’s completed.

And once Southern California Edison (SCE) finishes construction of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project scheduled for 2015, it will provide a crucial link to tap into wind, solar and other sources of energy for Californians.

“California has one of the most ambitious renewable energy goals in the nation,” said Kit Cole, SCE’s director of local public affairs. “The Tehachapi project is critical for facilitating progress toward those goals.”

The Tehachapi project will deliver electricity from energy generators in Kern County south through Los Angeles and east to SCE’s Mira Loma Substation in Ontario, San Bernardino County. The project’s route crosses numerous communities in Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, including the community of Chino Hills.

And once energized, the Tehachapi project will address constraints on the region’s electric system by providing additional capacity and flexibility. The project will also significantly boost electric reliability for SCE’s customers.

In December 2009, following extensive environmental and regulatory analysis and public review, the California Public Utilities Commission approved SCE’s application to build segments 4-11 of the Tehachapi project.

The CPUC’s evaluation of segments 4-11 was extensive and largely focused on the appropriate route in the Chino Hills area. The regulatory commission decided that an overhead transmission option for the route through Chino Hills was in the best interest of California.

In November 2011, in response to Chino Hill’s Petition for Modification, the CPUC issued a ruling on part of the Tehachapi project in Chino Hills (segment 8A). The ruling directed SCE to prepare undergrounding alternatives for routing the portion of segment 8A, an integrated part of the entire Tehachapi project, that runs through Chino Hills.

The commission is scheduled to decide this summer whether to order SCE to underground the part of segment 8A that runs through Chino Hills.

“A requirement that high-voltage transmission lines be placed underground in Chino Hills, with the additional costs spread across all customer groups, will significantly impact Californians,” said Cole, who noted that SCE supports the commission’s previously approved overhead route. “It is not in California’s best interest to take on the costs associated with the Chino Hills underground proposal.”

SCE estimates the costs at $723 million for building the transmission lines underground through Chino Hills, much more than the $170 million estimated cost of the approved overhead route.

“It also is not in California’s best interest to put this project completion date in jeopardy, potentially delaying California’s progress toward its aggressive renewable energy goals, because of the large amount of renewable energy under contract that depends of the project’s timely completion,” said Cole.