Editorial: Mike Bonin Urged to Use Pad-Mounts

By Sarah Conner
PPRA President Special to the Palisades News

The western end of Pacific Palisades needs a new electrical distribution substation to provide reliable electrical service in the face of increased demand.

Many in the community are strongly opposed to the construction of a traditional or temporary pole-top substation on the DWP land next to Marquez Elementary School, and the Pacific Palisades Residents Association shares their concerns.

The DWP, which has been unable to locate another suitable site for a permanent substation supported by the community, is building two pole-top distribution substations (PTDS) as a “temporary” solution until a permanent one can be built (which may never happen). The Department of Public Works held a hearing on the appeal of the Coastal Development Permit for the pole top at Sunset and Marquez Avenue. The Department denied the appeal, even though the adjacent property owner submitted a written offer of a cost-free easement to allow the construction of a pad-mounted alternative and offered to pay the DWP $60,000 to offset costs incurred to date on this pole top.

Although many residents see the two pole tops as a final solution, DWP announced at the hearing that three ADDITIONAL pole-top substations will need to be constructed soon. It is likely that the next pole top will go in front of the DWP property on Marquez OR at the corner of Marquez and Ida, since these are the DWP’s preferred locations.

Marquez Elementary School parents and the entire Palisades community need to take action now, or the DWP will have precedent for further pole-top construction in its favor.

Nobody is trying to get the temporary substation currently being constructed at Sunset and Marquez moved. The owner of the property adjacent to the poles is asking DWP to pad mount the substation. This can be more effectively screened by landscaping from Sunset (a Designated Scenic Highway).

Pad mounting will NOT slow down the construction of the substation. The DWP could accept the property owner’s cost-free easement offer and commence construction of the pad-mounted substation within days.

Instead, DWP has refused to consider the pad-mounted alternative. If the DWP does not pursue this alternative, it will face further legitimate appeals and lawsuits, resulting in construction delays.

Pad mounting will NOT increase the cost of the intended PTDS. (The DWP already has incurred $780,252 in additional underground costs to move the substation to Sunset from their original design at Marquez and Ida Street.)

Pad mounting is technically feasible because DWP installed one in Granada Hills, and expert electrical consultant reports have been submitted that confirm its feasibility at Sunset and Marquez.

This installation is safer and will significantly reduce visual blight, even if the DWP is correct that tall poles still will be need to connect to existing power lines. Eliminating overhead installation with a pad-mounted alternative will enable more effective screening from public view, and pad mounting results in fewer EMF emissions.

The PPRA urges residents to email Councilman Mike Bonin at mike.bonin@lacity.org to request pad-mounted stations.

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