Chandler neighborhood feuds with SRP over power lines plan

SRP is planning to put in some overhead, high-voltage power lines near a south Chandler neighborhood, but residents are encouraging the utility to bury them underground.

Neighbors convened on Tuesday night to discuss the problem.

Laine Shoneberger with Communities United claims the power lines are too close to homes and businesses and need to be buried instead. 

SRP wants to put out more energy in the area, but the plans have the neighbors near Ocotillo and Arizona Avenue energized and upset.

The utility wants to add several tall, high-powered above-ground transmission lines along the entire stretch going from a substation on Arizona Avenue, along the Gila River Indian Community, over to the Price Road Corridor. The corridor is home to many high-tech companies like Intel and Orbital Sciences that need the additional power.

It's a site that people do not want to see, but if SRP gets its way, some new 230,000 kilovolt power lines will be going up.

"It's too much power in the air, we have to listen to it hum and buzz all night and day, we have to look at it, it's horrible what they're talking about doing," said Shoneberger.

More than 50 homes, including Shoneberger's would be just 150 feet away from the towers. The new towers would be more than twice as tall, and even more powerful than the current power lines that run through the neighborhood.

Neighbors say it would bring down property values, and create an eyesore.

"We don't want these lines up in the air, everything they're talking about doing is going to be detrimental to the communities that surround this area," said Shoneberger.

They want SRP to bury the power lines underground as has been done in other communities.

SRP says it would come at a $30 million price tag for all SRP customers.

"The cost deferential to bury the line is about 11 times more expensive. It will cost us about $900,000 a mile to build it standard above ground, it would cost us about $11 million a mile to bury it," said Scott Harrelson with SRP.

SRP said it's all part of a bigger picture. They want to increase the amount of energy to the Price Road Corridor, the hub of high-tech and big money companies in the area.

The goal is to amp up the power to attract more high-tech companies that would grow the economy.

"All those companies over there should be pitching in, I'm going to pick on Intel, they make billions of dollars a quarter, there's no reason they can't reach into their slush fund and help the community they are in by paying to bury these lines," said Shoneberger.

It will be up to the Arizona Corporation Commission to decide whether SRP gets its way. The commission is made up of 5 elected officials.

They will hear both sides and take a vote.

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