Joanne Genis stands in the shadow of one of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project’s high-voltage line towers near the front yard of her home in Chino Hills on Tuesday. The City Council has made available an additional $100,000 for work by their legal council to continue the battle against Southern California Edison’s project. (Thomas R. Cordova Staff Photographer)

Canan Tasci, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Created: 11/07/2011 11:36:13 AM PST

CHINO HILLS – The cost to fight the installation of high-voltage power transmission lines in this city has not come cheap.

City Council members late last month made an additional $100,000 available to continue efforts to curtail Southern California Edison’s route in the city for the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project.

The battle between the city and the Edison started four years ago.

The city’s bill so far: $2.4 million.

The money has been coming out of the city’s general fund reserves, which totals about $14 million.

But with cities struggling financially during tough economic times, Mayor Ed Graham said he recognizes that some residents may soon begin to fret that the city is spending too much on this fight.

“However, I haven’t heard that yet, but I think with everything else there comes a time to fold your cards, but you fold your cards when you have no possibilities,” Graham said.

“Right now, though, we have a possibility of changing things so it makes dollar sense for us to reactivate the fight.”

The California Public Utilities Commission last month ordered Southern California Edison to temporary stop construction of the towers in the city because they don’t have appropriate lighting – a violation of Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

City spokeswoman Denise Cattern said the $2.4 million has been spent on anything related to the project, such as a variety of consultants, experts and legal costs.

“This also includes our legal fees for our city attorney and the attorney we hired as a consultant for expertise working with CPUC,” Cattern said.

“This does not include environmental studies – that would have been done as part of the CPUC process that SCE went through.”

City Manager Michael Fleager said the $100,000 that the council approved in October is for additional work by the city’s special counsel and consultants.

“Maybe we spend $10,000 or $20,000. There’s not a specific price tag. It’s just making sure we have that much available up to that point,” Fleager said.

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