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Monday, August 31, 2015

EPEC Fast Tracks Power Poles in Historic District

"Romero Poles"
Romero Poles. That's what the neighborhood has begun to call the electrical poles now marring the historical Manhattan Heights district as well as the Newman Park neighborhood immediately to the north. They are named in "honor" of Rep. Larry Romero who wouldn't even take time to stand with the people that he represents and demand a reasonable solution from the electrical utility. Instead, the champion of payday predatory lenders stands with the El Paso Electric Company and not his constituents.

Of course, a compromise is almost a moot point. EPEC's contractors began working at top speed today to plant the poles. Certainly EPEC doesn't want to have to compromise with residents nor face the Historic Landmark Commission (HLC) of El Paso again.

Seeing the frantic pace of the contractors, one neighbor put it well: "Despite EPEC's agreement to work at a compromise with Manhattan Heights Neighborhood Association, EPEC has decided no longer to apply for permitting with HLC on this or any future projects. EPEC has thumbed its nose at HLC and its customers; EPE has restarted construction and is installing poles along Elm Street as we speak."

Another neighbor points out: "El Paso Electric paid millions of dollars for the right to use the city right of way. It is my understanding that all utilities must conform to the established norms and the rule of law including the fact that the HLC regulates all changes in the area. It has the right to issue cease and desist orders and refer the matter to a hearing. The fact that El Paso Electric chose to remove it's application from the HLC does not create a condition where this organization is exempted from seeking HLC approval for changes in Manhattan Heights. Just how many times does code enforcement issue citations for non-conforming/unpermitted construction in historic areas? I know they have the right to bring the El Paso Electric to court and have them stop activity until a hearing is provided to determine appropriateness."

Will City Council act? Not this one.

So much for the property value of this beautiful home.
When living in the State of Washington for 18 years, residents, officials, utility personnel - all knew what another resident stated that "public safety limits [of high power lines] for electromagnetic and radiofrequency fields remain thousands of time higher given all the studies regarding the association to serious health issues." In El Paso, nobody seems to know that and EPEC claims ignorance.

EPEC wants a rate hike? Since they act imperiously without respect to the health, safety and welfare of neighborhoods not to mention the rules involving historical districts, they shouldn't get it. In fact, the City of El Paso should take over electrical services and tell EPEC to take a hike. By the way such a move can lead to encouraging solar energy rather than discouraging it as EPEC does with their proposed ridiculous hikes for solar power users. They argue that users of solar power don't pay their fair share of infrastructure needs. However those needs would be lessened if more people used solar. Simply put, EPEC wants you to buy more of their electricity. If you don't read the comments after these posts, then you missed a great one the other day: 

"I make tacos.
You buy my tacos for $5 each.
You no like my tacos?
Then you pay me $8.

Someone has to pay for my tacos."

I couldn't have said it better.

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