Queen Creek residents opposed to a Salt River Project power line scheduled to be strung above their homes say their biggest concern is getting the utility to work better with communities when planning new routes.
Members of the neighborhood group said they aren’t simply taking a not-in-my-backyard approach to the problem of where to place needed power lines. They want SRP to include municipal and community leaders in the process of planning where lines will go.
"I think they’re keeping us in the dark," said Mike Rooney, one of several residents who met Thursday with SRP community relations representative Stephanie Winn in a closed meeting to discuss the 69-kilovolt line, which will connect the Bogle substation on Recker Road south of Queen Creek Road to the Rittenhouse substation on Ocotillo Road west of Ellsworth Road.
Winn said her purpose for attending the meeting was to hear residents’ concerns and schedule a larger, public meeting — hopefully within the next few weeks — to answer questions and discuss solutions.
The group is seeking an alternative to placing the lines above ground near their homes, such as putting some nearby 12kV wires underground and putting the 69kV lines in their place.
The residents brought their concerns, along with a petition containing more than 250 signatures, to the Queen Creek Town Council on Feb. 2, and officials agreed the company should do a better job of sharing future routes for area planning.
Queen Creek leaders also expressed a strong interest in facilitating discussions with the utility and looking for creative solutions, but SRP executives say it might be too late.
"We have a schedule, and we need to stay to that schedule, and we will," company spokesman Scott Harelson said.
Rooney said area residents didn’t find out about the power lines until December, which gave them little time to respond or reach a compromise.