Kyrene Corridor residents
and their representatives in Tempe and
Chandler city halls are scrambling to
find ways to persuade Salt River Project
to bury a proposed 69-kilovolt power
line that Tempe Councilwoman Pam
Goronkin says is “a really threatening
issue” to the area.
“I certainly don’t want
to see them marching down McClintock
Road,” Goronkin said of SRP’s proposal
to erect new power poles between the
Hanger substation near Guadalupe and
Price roads and the Houston substation
on McClintock just north of Ray Road.
There is no line
connecting those two substations today.
Salt River Project says
the new high-tension line is needed to
cope with power demand that has risen 28
percent since 1998 and is expected to
exceed existing capacity by summer 2007.
SRP hosted an open house
on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Aprende Middle
School in Chandler to review its
proposals with Kyrene Corridor
One Tempe official
predicted the open house would be
standing room only. Tempe and Chandler
staff discussed the SRP plan in a
conference call on Tuesday.
“We just compared notes,”
said Jeff Kulaga, Tempe’s assistant city
He said the first step
for Tempe is to learn exactly where SRP
proposes to build the new line. Then,
Tempe will “drill down a little bit
farther” to determine the actual costs
of burying the proposed line, he said.
SRP has offered six
possible routes for the new power line.
Five of the six would require SRP to
erect new wood or steel power poles
along parts of McClintock south of
Guadalupe Road in an area where there
are no overhead lines today.
Goronkin said Tempe City
Council members have received “dozens
and dozens” of emails from residents
opposed to putting new power poles in an
area where the city has spent more than
$3 million since the mid-1990s burying
smaller power lines.
Ironically, the money to
bury those lines came from a special
“aesthetics fund” set up by Salt River
Project to help communities mitigate the
impact of overhead wires.
SRP’s policy is to build
new 69-kV power lines above ground
unless communities fund the extra cost
of burying them. Goronkin said SRP
officials told her it could cost
approximately $3 million per mile to
bury the proposed lines.
SRP’s proposed routes
range from 3.8 miles to about 4.3 miles,
which means it could cost well over $10
million to bury the new lines.
The question is: Who will
“We are in agreement with
our residents that SRP needs to either
put it underground or mitigate the
impact some other way,” Chandler
spokesman Jim Phipps said.
“They need to find a way
to put that (power line) in an area that
isn’t going to have a negative impact on
any of our residents,” Phipps said. “One
way is to underground it,” he said.
“The city (of Chandler)
has no intention of spending money on
something that SRP should do,” Phipps
said. “It’s their impact.”
Phipps likened the cost
of burying the power line to the Arizona
Department of Transportation paying
extra to mitigate noise when building
“It’s the cost of doing
business,” he said.
Goronkin said the cities
had little advance warning of SRP’s
plans and, therefore, “The costs are not
in anyone’s budget at the municipal
“One of the solutions
might be that the cost to underground be
shared,” she said. If Chandler residents
are going to benefit from the power,
they should pay part of the expense, she
SRP’s electricity “grid”
does not follow city borders, so
determining who will benefit from the
proposed power line is difficult.
A map provided to the
Wrangler News by SRP indicates that,
although the power line would run
through Tempe, much of the area to be
served is in Chandler and even Mesa.
The Houston substation,
at McClintock and Ray, is in Chandler at
the Tempe border. Four feeder lines
leaving the Houston substation serve
Tempe and four serve customers in
Chandler. The Hanger substation, at
Price and Guadalupe, is in Mesa but also
has four feeder lines going into Tempe.
“It’s mainly the Houston
69/12-kV distribution station that is
the problem we are facing,” SRP
spokesman Scott Harelson said.
“There are four 12-kV
feeders going directly into the Tempe
area and four stay in Chandler. The load
in that general residential Tempe area
being fed the Houston station has
increased its usage by approximately
28-percent since 1998. Most of that
increase is in existing homes,” he
While much of the service
area is in Chandler, “the areas on its
‘boundaries’ are no less served, or
critical, to the overall performance of
the system,” Harelson noted.
the overload problems we’ll see in 2007,
there are other stations contributing to
the project’s need along the 69-kV loop
that have increases in demand too, but
do not feed into the city of Tempe.
“They are the Austin,
Airpark, Manor, Miller, Wafer and Wood
stations. Collectively, the overload and
low voltages will occur along the 69-kV
line looping all those stations
All six of the stations
mentioned by Harelson are in Chandler or
Mesa, according to SRP’s map.