Village of Oak Creek AZ (March 1, 2021) – Arizona Public Service’s (APS) proposed above-ground powerline into the Village of Oak Creek (VOC) is opposed by nearly three-quarters (73.5%) of respondents to a recent survey by Big Park Regional Coordinating Council (BPRCC). Just over half (52.6%) favored burying the powerline that, as proposed, would run northwest from McGuireville and enter the Village along Kel Fox Trail before connecting to APS’s Oak Creek substation. Another 38% equally favored one of two battery storage options – a battery storage facility or a solar-powered community microgrid (with battery storage) – in lieu of a new powerline.
APS must secure special approval from the U.S. Forest Service for construction of the high-voltage powerline across Coconino National Forest since the Village is surrounded on all sides by national forest land. APS has said the new powerline would serve as backup during power outages and increase capacity for future growth.
“We were very pleased to see a high response rate, which indicates an incredible amount of interest in the proposal,” Camille Cox, president of BPRCC, said. “The survey results will help assist the Council in developing a formal position on the project when we submit a comment letter to the US Forest Service on its draft Environmental Assessment (EA) of the project.”
The Forest Service is expected to request public comment on the draft EA later this spring.
Other Survey Highlights
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents (66.8%) considered power outages in the Village over the last five years to be either minor or moderately inconvenient. Only 10.9% said outages have been disruptive.
- More than two-thirds (69.5%) said a new powerline was not important or not at all important. Just under a quarter (24.5%) said it was important or very important to build the new power line.
- More than two-thirds of respondents (70%) also opposed APS’s proposed rate increase, which would help fund new investments in infrastructure. Only 10.4% supported or strongly supported the rate increase.
- Respondents were roughly divided on a battery storage facility, given a 2019 fire at an APS battery facility in Surprise. Some 54.9% said they would be concerned or very concerned if a battery storage facility were selected as a condition by the Forest Service, while 39% were not concerned, including 22.5% who said they would support a battery storage facility.
- Regarding a community microgrid partly powered by solar energy, respondents were less concerned with just over half (54.1%) saying they were not concerned, not at all concerned, or supported a community microgrid.
ABOUT The Survey The survey was conducted Jan. 29-Feb. 9, 2021, and distributed to approximately 500 individuals on BPRCC’s subscribers list for its 25 homeowner associations, business representatives, and individuals who signed up to receive BPRCC information. Several homeowner associations, members of the BPRCC, also encouraged their residents to respond. An article encouraging participation in the survey was published in the Feb. 2 edition of The Villager.
The questions and survey results may be reviewed here (link to view/download PDF of survey). BPRCC received 231 valid responses to the survey.
ABOUT The Big Park Regional Coordinating Council The BPRCC was created in 1996 and has since been representing the Big Park Region, including the Village of Oak Creek. The Council represents between 25-30 Residential, Business and Educational organizations who, in turn, represent more than 8,000 individuals. Where appropriate, the Council provides input to County, State and Federal agencies. Although the Council does not have formal authority, it serves to influence decisions that affect the livability of the community. For more information, visit bigparkcouncil.org.