A public hearing regarding a controversial Tucson Electric Power transmission line that would cut through historic neighborhoods and along a key city corridor has been delayed to allow time for discussions with project stakeholders.
The Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee hearing was scheduled to be held Monday, Sept. 13, but now won’t occur until Feb. 7.
At issue is TEP’s proposed Kino to DeMoss-Petrie 138-kilovolt transmission line project, which would connect TEP’s Kino Substation, near South Kino Parkway and East 36th Street, to a proposed substation just west of Banner-University Medical Center Tucson and TEP’s substation near West Grant Road and Interstate 10.
TEP says the project will help reduce outage times while serving growing energy needs of midtown customers.
The line would be suspended from 75- to 110-foot-tall poles, running through or adjacent to several historic Tucson neighborhoods, drawing protests from residents who say their views would be spoiled and their properties devalued by the line and want TEP to install it underground.
The city says that any line installed along TEP’s preferred route must be installed underground on a section of North Campbell Avenue, citing ordinances requiring utilities to be installed underground on city-designated “gateway corridors.”
TEP says burying the lines would be prohibitively expensive — at an estimated extra cost of up to $63 million — and that it would be unfair to pass those costs to all ratepayers.
The utility recently filed a notice with the committee saying that if the city requires undergrounding of the lines along Campbell, it would prefer an alternative route that passes the UA campus to the west.