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One Of Del Cerro’s Last Remaining Utility Poles Removed

Evening Edition

Aired 8/21/14 on KPBS News.

A "pole-out" ceremony was held near Patrick Henry High School in Del Cerro on Wednesday. A San Diego Gas & Electric crew used a large crane to remove one of the last overhead utility poles in the neighborhood.

A "pole-out" ceremony was held near Patrick Henry High School in Del Cerro on Wednesday. A San Diego Gas & Electric crew used a large crane to remove one of the last overhead utility poles in the neighborhood.

Since 2003, the city of San Diego and SDG&E have removed more than 5,000 utility poles in the city and replaced them with underground distribution lines covered by green utility boxes.

City Councilman Scott Sherman says removing the poles in Del Cerro has improved the area.

"This is my neighborhood. I went to Patrick Henry just around the corner and it's very good to see it now without all the wires and poles and that kind of thing stringing across the street," Sherman said.

Removing the poles does come at a cost to residents, who pay a monthly 3 percent to 4 percent surcharge on their utility bill to get rid of the poles and power lines, but Sherman says the removal also helps homeowners.

"It improves property values, quality of life and also brings out a little more pride in the community," Sherman said.

Del Cerro received new utility services through the "Residential Project Block Patrick Henry/Ridge Manor" project, which cost close to $5 million. When the project is complete, Del Cerro will also have new streetlights and pedestrian ramps, along with newly planted trees and resurfaced streets.

"It's a collaboration between the city and different utility providers. Everybody had to come together with the community and work together," Sherman said.

Putting power lines underground also reduces the possibility of power lines being affected by high winds during storms and car accidents. In San Diego, more than 75 percent of the power lines are now underground.

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