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Paradise Hills Power Lines: Above or Below?
2 August 2005
PNM presented plans for overhead power lines on Paradise Boulevard from Golf Course Road to Lyon Boulevard on August 1 at the Paradise Hills Community Center.
The purpose of the project is to connect two substations. The area may experience sustained power outages if the improvement is not made.
PNM has permits to place the overhead power lines for this project as described. The anticipated cost to PNM is $230,000. The neighborhood audience would prefer to have underground wiring for this section. They cited property values and aesthetic considerations. Underground installation would cost about $500,000 and extend project work from PNM's estimated time of 4-6 weeks to 10-12 weeks.
PNM feels that the people who benefit from underground wiring should share the differential in cost. Don Brown, a spokesman for PNM, said PNM would wait until March to see if the difference can be funded by state money or other funding.
This information is from "The Albuquerque Tribune", August 02, 2005.
By Nathan Tafoya
August 2, 2005
In a half-lit auditorium, officials from the Public Service Company of New Mexico held a slide show for nearly 150 Paradise Hills residents.
The slides showed how 7,000 feet of overhead power lines in their neighborhood would look and cost.
From the darkened bleachers came catcalls and boos.
Ninety minutes later in the Paradise Hills Community Center, the outcome wasn't clear. PNM held the session to hear complaints, but the utility has permits it needs to build lines along Paradise Boulevard from Golf Course Road to Lyon Boulevard.
Building overhead will cost $230,000. Building underground would cost $500,000. The company is leaving it to residents to come up with the difference - $270,000 - to bury the lines, which is what the neighbors want.
Residents at Monday's hearing said overhead lines will ruin the look of the neighborhood and cause property values to drop.
"Are you going to reimburse me if my house depreciates?" asked Auzadeh Bartholf, who lives in Paradise Ridge.
"Let's get into the 21st century," said Margaret Gaylor, a Paradise Bluff resident. "Power poles overhead are not 21st century."
The lines will connect two substations. The connection would consist of 31 poles on the south side of Paradise Boulevard.
If the stations aren't connected, residents would be vulnerable to sustained outages, said Don Brown, PNM spokesman.
Construction on the overhead lines will take four to six weeks. Building underground would take 10 to 12 weeks.
The utility company has the required permits to build the power line but is giving residents until March 1 to come up with difference.
"The people that benefit from it should pay the difference," Brown said.
State Rep. Thomas Anderson, an Albuquerque Republican who is vice president of the Paradise Hills Civic Association, said he has $150,000 to contribute toward the cost difference.
Anderson said he hoped to get the rest from the legislature.
Brown said the utility will wait until March to see whether funding will come through.
Editorial: Bouquets & brickbats
August 3, 2005
Bouquet: power plan
Of all metro areas in the nation, Albuquerque has the best argument for burying overhead power lines: They obscure the city's beautiful vistas - and they repeatedly entangle hot-air balloons. In this, the hot-air balloon capital of the world, balloon traps belong underground.
Residents of Paradise Hills and representatives of the Public Service Company of New Mexico deserve huge credit for moving toward power-line burial this week.
PNM has the permits it needs to string lines along Paradise Boulevard from Golf Course to Lyons. But the company wisely decided to discuss the matter with residents first. Residents, naturally, told PNM they think overhead lines are ugly. So PNM gave residents the option to bury them, if they can come up with the cost difference. Buried lines cost more than twice as much as the overhead version.
Residents say they'll try to come up with the $270,000 they need. PNM is giving them until March 1.
Here's to Paradise Hills' success - and to the chance that other neighborhoods will follow suit.