Tom DiCamillo has been in contact with various people who are involved with the decision to put power poles down Walker Road.
Here is an email from Tom to Christopher Welker, a person in the Forest Service and their response.
Please leave your comments below.
Mr. Christopher Welker:
You must be aware of the California movement to bury 20 thousand miles of overhead lines due to the devastating Forest Fires?
Fires have destroyed so many properties in that state. Complete towns have been wiped out, we don’t want Walker to have the same demise.
We have worked so hard as Stewards of our Prescott National Forest and supporting the Urban Interface Firewise defensible space and many projects for the Healthy Forest Initiative.
I am now asking your support to help out with many Walker Residents that are rallying to prevent the installation of OVERHEAD 69 KV Power lines with huge towering poles.
We as a community have started a petition to prevent A.P.S. from starting this project we don’t think this petition alone will stop this overhead project. https://www.nopowerpoles.com/
I again enlist your service as a Forrester (a Steward of our Prescott National Forest) to help us prevent this OVERHEAD 69 KV system build. See attached mailing A.P.S. has sent to a few residents.
Why would A.P.S. endanger residents and ruin this scenic Walker Road Historic Roads Vista?
As you travel south on this road the view is uninterrupted and you can see the Fire Tower on Mt. Union as well as the complete set of Mountains in the filed of view.
Dusty Alook is the project manager email@example.com and the identifying project number is WE016235.
We have found out, one of the requirements for this project to move forward is you granting them a permit to work.
I am pleading with you to support our community and not provide A.P.S. with a permit to start this overhead line project.
We are willing to accept underground facilitation of the same 69 KV system or the existing alternate of rebuilding the Windmill Tower line that is the current power line routing.
We have also learned the old right of way for the existing transmission line runs parallel to Senator Highway it is called the Windmill Tower line.
We are perplexed as to why the A.P.S. company would not leave this line active and work over it with new construction of the 69 KV system.
The easement exists, the existing access and maintenance roadway could be improved to facilitate bad weather access.
How many outages could occur on this new 69 KV system using the old existing pathway?
The difficulty of acquiring the easements would be non existent in renovation of this line.
New maintenance access can be modernized to todays standard for this existing line.
It has been over 6 years since the old system has had a service interruption (due to snow) and the reestablishment of service was delayed by over a week due to inaccessible roads (a helicopter had to fly in the required workforce to restore power).
If A.P.S. understands this difficulty why is it not standard operating procedure for them to deploy a crew without waiting?
If a new 69 KV system is installed within the existing Windmill tower pathway the likelihood of a line failure is nil due to our new age of engineering.
I have been told the Windmill Tower system is in existence since 1905 and its routing is the most direct path for service.
Christopher I PLEAD with you for your support.
With all due respect.
Walker Firewise Director and Defensible Space Assessor.
Vice President of the Potato Patch Homeowners Association (133 Home sites)
And the response:
Good morning Tom,
I received a similar letter from APS (attached) – what we call in the public lands/trust management business a pre-proposal “scoping letter”.
APS has actually been batting around the idea of a redundant service line/loop for the communities of Groom creek and Walker for quite a while now, both due to the rather antiquated nature of the elec. distribution infrastructure in the areas, combined with the ever growing number of people who choose to move into the developed forested areas of Yavapai County / Bradshaw Mountains / Big Bug Mesa / etc. Addition of a new line south of town is, unfortunately an inevitable thing/project we will need to entertain from the utility company – it’s simply a matter of math and elec. utility service reliability.
That being said – I appreciate and share your landscape visuals/aesthetics concerns you voice in your note for the Walker Road corridor as it travels into the Prescott N.F. south of town and past our very popular developed recreation sites.
In fact, maintaining the Forest’s visuals and landscape aesthetics is a very big part of our Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP = “Forest Plan”), and something I do anticipate using as leverage for the utility company to illustrate why they cannot bury the line for the majority of the proposed/planned route.
The complicating factor in completely burying the new proposed line is the capacity that APS has identified they want the line to be; e.g., 69 kV capacity. I’ve been told from folks in the power transmission/delivery industry that burying a line that’s 69 kV capacity can be done, its simply a huge expense due to the amount of engineering needed that coincides with buying elec. transmission facilities greater than 33 kV capacity – apparently the line needs to be overly engineered when it comes to insulating it with concrete and having enhanced cathodic protection for the conduit.
I think APS’s planning for an enhanced, redundant route for our ever growing communities of Walker and Groom Creek is wise, I just don’t know if a 69 kV capacity facility is something that is feasible when all of the distribution lines they currently operate for the areas are all around 12 kV or so.
It seems to me that the utility company could achieve what they are after in providing enhanced and more reliable/redundant service to the areas of Walker and Groom Creek by having a lesser capacity line installed within the road right-of-way that could potentially be buried for the majority of the new line.
It simply comes down to striking a reasonable balance of what capacity the new proposed line should finally land at along with protecting those more visually sensitive or aesthetically important areas and places where we should be protecting them.
Hope this note helps put your heart at rest Tom. Please feel free to reach-out if you continue to have any questions or concerns on APS’s planning in the townsites of Walker and Groom Creek.
Chris L. Welker
Prescott National Forest
344 S. Cortez St.
Prescott, AZ 86303
Caring for the land and serving people