3 HOAs happy but wary about SRP-Intel powerline project SanTan Sun News

3 HOAs happy but wary about SRP-Intel powerline project

September 27th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
3 HOAs happy but wary about SRP-Intel powerline project
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By Ken Sain, Staff Writer

A lawyer representing three South Chandler HOAs presented a petition to City Council Monday with the signatures of 897 residents concerned about Salt River Project’s plan to install lines to power Intel’s expansion.

Attorney Meghan Grabel thanked the Council, SRP and Intel for agreeing to work with the residents and let them know they’ll be watching as the process moves forward.

SRP is planning to install powerlines from the Schader substation to Intel’s Ocotillo campus. The planned route initially had overhead lines going down the railroad tracks to Chandler Heights Road.

It was the only section planned to be above-ground. Grabel said the Reserve at Fulton Ranch HOA contacted her weeks ago because they felt it was unfair that the only portion of the project above ground was next to their neighborhood.

Since then, two other HOAs, Pinelake Estates and Southshore Village, also retained Grabel to represent them. The three HOAs represent about 1,500 residents.

She welcomed the news Intel has agreed to pay to put that portion of the line underground.

“We were delighted by the announcement, just a little over a week ago, that Intel had agreed to pay to bury the post-powerline from Chandler Heights, to the Schrader substation, including the segments near my clients’ homes,” Grabel said.

Linda Qian, the communications and media relations director for Intel Arizona, said the company is in discussions with SRP and the City of Chandler and has agreed to pay the extra cost of putting those lines underground along the railroad track.

The cost is not cheap.

SRP has said it costs 10 times as much to bury lines as it does to string them overhead. A company representative said they can’t just pass that cost on to all of their customers because it only affects a small group.

To put lines underground requires a partner to pay the extra cost.

The City of Chandler is that partner for the portion that will go through residential neighborhoods. However, the city expects to be reimbursed through SRP grants it negotiated in exchange for granting some easements.

Intel is paying for the line to remain underground on its campus.

The company needs a lot more power for its planned $20 billion expansion that will bring thousands of jobs to the area. Intel plans to hire an additional 3,000 workers. The expansion will also create 3,000 construction jobs.

Some of the new jobs being created are high-paying engineers and technicians. Intel currently employs more than 11,000 people in the state.

The company said its expansion will lead to another 15,000 jobs in support industries. To make that happen, SRP must upgrade its power lines from 69 to 230 kilovolts.

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