We want to preserve the natural beauty of the Heber Valley and prevent the addition of more high power lines that would blight our community!
Don't let powerful corporations ruin our valley. Let's stand together now.
Learn more about VOLTCITIZENS and join us in resisting corporate profits at the expense of our community.
Check out the planned route for the High Power Lines under the "UPDATES" section.
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POWER LINES UPDATE #13
Presentation of Underground Cost Study
VOLT opposes the joint power transmission project between Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) and Heber Light and Power (HLP) that would place large transmission lines through the middle of the Heber Valley.
1. HEBER LIGHT AND POWER BOARD MEETING - VERY IMPORTANT TO ATTEND
Wednesday May 30, 2018 3:00 p.m. Heber City Hall - Council Chambers -75 North Main Street Heber City, Utah 84032.https://utah.gov/pmn/sitemap/notice/462255.html.
HLP has requested the larger venue of this monthly meeting to be held at City Hall. HLP and RMP will present the underground cost study to citizens. The cost study was requested of HLP by its newly appointed board in Jan 2018. It is expected that the costs will be approximately $35 million for underground vs $14 million for overhead transmission lines. It is also expected that they will say we as valley residents will need to pay for the line to be buried. They will most likely present an estimation of the monthly increase on citizen's electric bills in the valley if we elect to bury the lines. VOLT and our legal counsel share the opinion that this thinking is flawed (see items below). Valley citizens should not bear the costs of burying transmission lines - they are not for the valley. The transmission lines will primarily serve other areas.
2. ISSUE BREAKDOWN
This has ALWAYS been a POLITICAL problem and not a TECHNICAL problem. Our elected leaders did not require additional studies or routing, public involvement, nor did they consider forfeiting our public assets in allowing this project. RMP and HLP want to construct taller and exponentially higher voltage transmission lines along Highway 40 through Heber and Midway, through established neighborhoods.
Here are few items to consider:
Item #1 This new transmission line is not for our valley. Previously we have been told the line is for the valley and its growth. The proposed line will still serve the same capacity as before to HLP, but will allow RMP to better serve Summit County and connect other transmission needs and customers - at great impact to our valley.
Item #2 HLP is the valley's public power company - owned by the cities of Heber, Midway, and Charleston (also known as an Interlocal). RMP is a for profit private entity. HLP buys electricity and then sells power to its retail customers in its service territory. RMP does not have condemnation rights in HLP's service territory. This is why RMP needs to have HLP transfer all assets to RMP along the proposed line. The contract requires HLP to assign all rights of ways, easements, and equipment to RMP. These are assets of valley residents. If we are giving assets, then we should properly determine their value and determine how the new transmission line proceeds through our lands.
Item #3 HLP and RMP will tell you "if you want the line buried - you can pay for it". Along that thinking, then why aren't we paying for the entire overhead line? Because it is not for us. RMP is paying for over 80% of the cost of the overhead line and surely will pass those costs onto their entire customer base. The costs of requiring lines to be buried should be paid by ALL those customers that it services.
Item #4 The May 30th presentation of the overhead line vs underground line cost report is will scare HLP customers. HLP and RMP will maintain that we as valley resident should allow the project to proceed or we can pay to have it buried. They will present the projected costs that would be added onto monthly bills. These numbers are expected to alarm HLP customers. Likewise, if the cost of building every road and highway in the country was presented as an additional fee to a few car buyer, would anyone buy a car?
Item #5 The unveiled cost study will propose two separately buried lines which doubles the underground cost. Other options and routings have never been considered. The cost study unnecessarily inflates burial costs of the line. In addition, the study does not look at the cost of maintaining the existing line and just burying RMP’s high voltage lines.
Item #6 Expanded Easements and Rights of Way for overhead lines will cost millions and the property acquisition costs of the overhead line are not presented in the study. The landowners along the line want underground lines.
Item #7, Rocky Mountain Power does not want to bury the line. They are the 800 lb. Gorilla. RMP is a privately-owned company by Berkshire Hathaway Energy and operates as a quasi-public utility. They have no competition, and yet enjoy many public utility protections - but their powers are not unlimited. VOLT challenges their power in the valley on this issue. RMP wants the cheapest, easiest path. Burying the line will establish a precedent of public push back- which they do not like. Why would they want to be compelled to bury a line at a greater cost if they can build it overhead for a fraction of the cost? They want quick unencumbered approvals, and once the line is constructed then they will mitigate impacts with individuals (divide and conquer) for pennies on the millions.
Consider this 2014 case: RMP installed power a 100 mile Oquirrh-to-Mona transmission line. RMP condemned 1 mile of this line that crossed through lands owned by Utah's School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, or SITLA. This land was rural, with no developments or residential neighborhoods. SITLA sued for impact fees totaling $4.5 Million. RMP countered with $70,000. Eventually they arrived at 2.5 Million. Unbelievable when you consider that the proposed line in the Heber Valley will stretch across 6 miles of developed neighborhoods and track directly through sensitive lands. Spend a few minutes reading more in this Salt Lake Tribune article: https://bit.ly/2J9T3Ll
Item #8 If the HLP board approves the installation of massive overhead power lines through Heber and Midway they can expect a costly legal fight and delays as well as a painful PR campaign for RMP.
Recomendation: The HLP Board should cancel the agreement with RMP and re-negotiate the terms so they are more favorable to Heber Valley residents. VOLT believes that faced with a delay, RMP should come to the table with a properly designed underground power plan, one that protects our valley and provides power for future growth in Wasatch and Summit Counties at minimum or no cost to HLP or its customers. RETHINK, REROUTE, OR BURY THE LINES
VOLT is only as strong as its supporters. We need your help financially so VOLT can continue to promote the message of "RETHINK, REROUTE, OR BURY THE LINES" in the Heber Valley. Donate via PayPal above.
See past meeting and general highlights in the "UPDATES" section.