I am hoping that you can sign my petition and share it widely –http://chng.it/kZpVV8xD
The Blaine County Commissioners seem to be accepting that Blaine citizens need to pay $30 million for undergrounding the transmission line and have been kicking around ideas like a two year payoff levy for property owners. I think that this is incorrect. I was an intervenor in the PUC case.
Idaho Power needs to go through a rate case first with the PUC. The PUC ruling, Order 33872, specifically stated that, “This Order does not constitute approval of any cost of the line for ratemaking purposes.” Idaho Power needs to prove to all Idaho ratepayers that they should pay $14.5 million for undergrounding in Ketchum and needs to prove that Blaine County is responsible for the undergrounding costs in its scenic byway corridor. I think Idaho Power will have a hard time making both of these cases at the same time; they are undergrounding in Ketchum due to anticipated resistance to a visual line in Ketchum. http://www.puc.idaho.gov/
A core part of Blaine County’s Comprehensive Plan and its tourist economy is to keep its main corridor scenic. Since the County has voted not to allow the transmission line above ground, Idaho Power would have to sue the County or take another case to the PUC to build this line above ground, against the County’s wishes.
More importantly, Idaho Power has NOT repaired the old line and NOT installed backup generators or batteries at our substations, something that they could do in a matter of months and provide us critical backup power. Two lines miles apart in Southern Idaho failed in the ice storm of Christmas eve 2009 and no power got to Hailey. The proposed line would have not helped at all. We are still at risk. Instead of a real 2019-technology battery solution, Idaho Power wants Blaine County to pay $30 million to underground coal-fired power to a resort area which will be severely impacted by climate change.
We want a real solution of backup batteries at all of our sub-stations, distributed generation solar farms providing clean power, & microgrids, and we want the existing line repaired. Since battery storage has declined so dramatically in price, Idaho Power can now repair the existing line by installing battery storage at our sub-stations and running the backup power while repairing. Technology has advanced and prices have come down since this ruling.
Thank you if you can sign the petition and share it widely.