Pol says power shortage threatens Inland Empire’s industrial development

Riverside County supervisor says SoCal Edison lacks juice for as many as 15 warehouses planned along the 215 Freeway

Los Angeles /
Apr.April 18, 2022 09:03 AM
Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries (PE, Stord)
Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries (PE, Stord)

The Inland Empire, a national powerhouse for distribution warehouses, lacks the electricity to plug in more than a dozen developments planned for Riverside County, an elected official has publicly claimed.

Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said Southern California Edison doesn’t have enough wattage to supply millions of square feet of warehouse space planned along a 15-mile stretch of the 215 Freeway from March Air Reserve Base to Menifee, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

Jeffries said it could be two years before more power is available.

“The area of the 215 corridor — essentially you pretty much describe it from Alessandro (Boulevard) down to Menifee — Southern California Edison is out of power,” Jeffries said. “They can no longer provide power to the warehouses that are going in.

“One warehouse is 1.1 million square feet, and Target is preparing to move in, and they will have no power,” he said.

A lack of wattage could hamper the logistics boom that has transformed Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

With cheap, flat available land, a blue-collar workforce and easy access to interstates and rail lines to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Inland Empire has become America’s warehouse – boosted by soaring demand for e-commerce goods.

Warehouses of 1 million square feet or larger are becoming fixtures on the Inland Empire landscape. About two miles from the Target warehouse under construction next to March Air Reserve Base, the owners of Westmont Village want to rezone vacant land to accommodate a 1 million-square-foot logistics center.

On former Air Force land in the Riverside neighborhoods of Orangecrest and Mission Grove, a developer wants to build 1.8 million square feet – about 32 football fields – of warehouse space. Another developer plans two warehouses of 600,000 square feet.

Jeffries said as many as 15 new warehouses, including the area around March, “may or may not also have power.

“Edison didn’t tell us of this problem,” Jeffries said. “We learned about it from a developer who is preparing to have their tenant move in this summer and couldn’t get power from Edison.”

The power company neither confirmed nor denied the allegation it was short on power, the newspaper reported. Nor did he respond to Jeffries’ assertion that Edison failed to keep the county in the loop about its ability to supply power to new warehouses.

Edison spokesman David Song said the company has been working with the county and developers ‘to accommodate the electrical needs of planned industrial facilities which are critical to the economic vibrancy of the local community.”

The potential shortfall “is very concerning,” Riverside County spokeswoman Brooke Federico said. “The county is requesting additional information from Edison on the extent of the impacted area and capacity limitations. We will need to evaluate that information further to see how it will affect development projects that are underway.”

[Riverside Press-Enterprise] – Dana Bartholomew





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