The Utah Utility Facility Review Board held their initial hearing regarding Rocky Mountain Power’s petition against Midway City on Tuesday.
The Midway City Council unanimously approved in December the joint conditional use permit submitted by Rocky Mountain Power and Heber Light & Power to construct new transmission lines to carry power through the southern portion of Midway. The permit’s approval was conditioned on a few items, the key one being that the lines be buried—if Midway can secure the funds to pay for the additional costs.
Now, Rocky Mountain Power is challenging the city’s conditions of approval.
On Tuesday the board held an initial hearing regarding the complaint Rocky Mountain Power filed against Midway for the issuance of their conditional use permit.
One of the main points of contention at the hearing was whether evidence beyond what was presented to Midway City Council will be allowed in the hearing. Midway City attorney Corbin Gordon outlined what he believes Rocky Mountain Power will have to prove and how that will require a ton of evidence.
“You have to determine if the conditions that we've put on them impair their capacity to provide safe, reliable, and adequate service,” Gordon explained. “That's what we're here to decide, and they're the ones that have to prove that. They're insistent that this has to go in by 2020 and that we shouldn't have the time to raise money to bury it. In order for you to make a decision to say well is this going to impair them or not they're going to have to come in with that evidence. Your duty is to listen to the evidence that they have and if they can prove that they're going to have rolling blackouts, well then you can make the decision. But if that's hyperbole, if that's just something that they're saying, and there's no evidence for it and we can get additional time and no one's going to get hurt by it. Then that's part of your duty as well.”
Rocky Mountain Power representative Bret Reich says that the key issue of the complaint is the excess costs to bury the lines and Midway’s obligation to pay that difference.
“The board is created to resolve disputes between local governments and Public Utilities regarding the siting and construction of facilities as provided in this part,” Reich said. “So, the dispute is more general than it's not limited to a conditional use permit, but the very issue in this case is going to be the excess costs.”
At the hearing members of the review board determined they would allow for additional evidence from Rocky Mountain Power and Midway City. The formal hearing to take place the week of April 20th, with deadlines throughout March for submission of additional evidence and testimony by the entities.
Reich also confirmed at the hearing that Rocky Mountain Power will be delivering bids to Midway soon.
“It's in our best interest to get those to Midway City as soon as we get those,” Reich continued. “So, that is certainly what we're going to do and we're certainly going to make every effort to resolve this without the assistance of the board and I think Midway city feels the same. I mean we filed this just because we had to for statutory deadline, so hopefully we won't be back. So, yes we're going to provide those bids as soon as we get him review and make sure they are adequate for our purposes will get them to Midway City.”
Earlier in the hearing Reich said they expected to receive the bids by February 28 and intend to turn them over to Midway by the end of the next week.