Supervisor vows to help neighborhoods in battle against power poles
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Supervisor Pete Livermore on Wednesday night, told a group of more than six dozen homeowners that he would do what he could to change plans to run power poles down South Saliman Road.
During a sometimes emotionally charged meeting in Seeliger Elementary School’s auditorium with NV Energy – formerly Sierra Pacific Power – residents in the four neighborhoods that surround the Saliman Road School expressed dismay that the power company seemingly kept secret a project scheduled to start within weeks to install 28, 50-foot-tall power poles between Koontz Lane and Fairview Drive.
After a 30-minute presentation by John Perra, area service manager for NV Energy, the floor was opened to questions. Homeowners quizzed Perra on alternatives to the plan, some of them openly admitting they didn’t believe the power company’s explanation as to why the lines couldn’t be put along the freeway or underground. Concerns about the line ranged from decreasing property values, to concerns that the electromagnetic fields given off by the wires could promote cancer.
Homeowner Mike Nicholas handed out photographs he took of the Sierra Nevada at sunset from his backyard.
“Now draw a line through that,” he said his voice choked with emotion. “That’s what they are going to do.”
“They’ve already made up their mind about what they are going to do here, and whatever we say here now is gonna mean nothing,” another man said.
Residents held up master plans for their neighborhoods that stated utilities in the south Carson City community were to be underground.
But as most of the residents expressed disgust, Livermore stood up and took the microphone.
“I’m ready to help,” he said, adding that he would put a discussion on the Board of Supervisors agenda for November. “I think there’s still time.”
A franchise agreement between the power company and Sierra Pacific states that NV Energy need only get a permit and they can construct power poles in the city’s right of way.
Perra told the homeowners that there was recourse that they could take under Nevada law in which they could pick up the additional cost to bury the lines, which he said could be four times the cost of overhead lines.
Livermore said he would explore that option, as well as find out if Carson City could do what happened in Washoe County.
Recently Washoe County required Sierra Pacific Power to put new lines underground, and to collect the costs from all of the county’s residents.
Carl Walquist, NV Energy spokesman said because of Livermore’s involvement, the project may not begin until after the city and power company have further discussions.
“We need to hear what the city want’s to do,” Walquist said.