Some San Diegans Might Be Buried Before Power Lines Are

View of Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. / Photo by MacKenzie Elmer

As I was munching on Sicilian pizza along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena on the weekend, I noticed that the street looked a bit … naked. Each streetlight stood independently and was not taut. The signal flashed as if it were controlled by a phantom.

There was no power line in sight.

Like San Diego, Pasadena began burying power lines underground in the 1960s. Pasadena taxes citizens on programs aimed at helping beautify the city because Californians found power lines unsightly during the Beach Boys era.

San Diego also charges citizens a little extra to fill the power lines and we pay more to do it faster than the surrounding cities. (For “Differences in San Diego Franchise Fees,” check your energy bills. You paid about $ 1.15 on your final bill for underground burial.)

In 2012, city officials became residents It will take another 54 years to complete the burial of all power lines.. (The city did not respond to my request to update the finish line in time for this newsletter.) Varoojan Avedian, Engineering Manager for Municipal Water and Power Division in Pasadena, said about two-thirds of the power. Told me that I buried. line. However, it will take another 400 years to fill everything, based on the amount of money collected from the inhabitants (about $ 5 million a year) and because some of those lines are on low-priority private land.

The point is that for many cities, this process is so expensive that it can take generations.Pasadena says It costs about $ 10 to $ 12 million per mile.. It often involves tearing the streets, laying utility lines on Earth, and then repaving the streets and coordinating them all.

Why is this important to you? You pay to fill these power lines, so how much it costs is important. And San Diego doesn’t seem to be completely sure how much it will cost.

This underground burial practice for many years Loosen the relationship between the city of San Diego and its private energy providers, San Diego Gas & Electric.

The city council will decide on Tuesday whether to sign a new 20-year contract with SDG & E, even though SDG & E is still proactively proceeding. Undergrounding Conflict..

And last year, a city lawyer said SDG & E It was “overcharged” to fill the power line.. San Diego refused to pay the fees charged by the company for a period of time because it stated that it did not provide enough information to support the claim.

At least twice, SDG & E told the city in a letter to state regulators that it would stop collecting extra money from San Diego for underground burial programs. Legal authority to do so.

By March 1, the parties had apparently settled the allegations of overclaim. San Diego said SDG & E has charged an additional $ 2 million that is not directly related to the actual burial of transmission lines. According to a letter from Aria KoriTo Mitch Mitchell, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of San Diego, Vice President of State Government and Foreign Affairs of SDG & E. (((Disclosure: Mitchell is a member of the VOSD Board of Directors.).

“The city has a better understanding of how SDG & E calculates the cost per mile of underground construction,” said Khouri.

(Neither SDG & E nor the city of San Diego responded to my request to talk about resolving underground overcharges.)

Later, San Diego agreed to repay about $ 52 million worth of work. So I think it resolves the dispute.

According to a proposed franchise tariff that the city council may approve on Tuesday, the terms of the city’s future relationship with SDG & E regarding the expensive and painstaking task of filling power lines will not be resolved until the company signs a contract. ..

City lawyer Mara Elliott wrote it down in a long note Released on thursday..

“The city has waived the right to make unilateral decisions that affect its ability to manage its own underground projects,” Elliott wrote.

Therefore, while the issues caused by January have clearly been resolved, it is the city’s responsibility to have a clear understanding of future payments.

Pasadena doesn’t have to worry about it. The city manages the entire program on its own.

“It’s easy because we have a water department under the same city,” says Avedian. “You can talk directly with the public works sector,” adjusts the complexity of underground construction.

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