Frequently Asked Questions
What is Utility Undergrounding?
Utility undergrounding is the removal of overhead wires and poles and the placement of the poles and wires under the street and/or sidewalk. Undergrounding removes these unsightly utility poles and wires in your neighborhood and may add value to the property. The only wires allowed to remain overhead in a neighborhood are MUNI wires.
Who does the actual construction?
PG&E, or another designated utility company is responsible for either using their own crews or contracting the project out.
Does the City pay for undergrounding?
PG&E pays for a substantial part of the design and construction of undergrounding the wires and poles. It uses Rule 20A funds, funding from the California Public Utilities Commission that is obtained through ratepayers throughout the City. SBC, Comcast and other utility companies pay for the removal of their lines. Property owner financial responsibilities Property owners are required to pay for the conduit work required to accept utilities underground into their homes and properties. The estimated costs for installing conduit for a single family dwelling is approximately $1,500 to $2,500
I don’t have the funds to pay for this. Is there a City loan available?
The Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH) has a grant available to property owners who are eligible. Please contact Sonia Delgado, project manager to determine if you are eligible. Her number is (415) 282-3180
What is happening with the current underground program?
The current undergrounding program has been striving since August of 1998 to assist PG&E in undergrounding approximately 42 miles of utility lines within the City limits. Currently, it is estimated that PG&E will complete the 42 miles by the end of 2007.
How were the 42 miles selected?
DPW, in conjunction with the Board of Supervisors, utilized criteria outlined by the CPUC in developing underground districts. At that time, DPW had strived to spread undergrounding throughout the City. See PDF map for the 42 miles .
What criteria were used to select the 42 miles?
Criteria used included: major capital improvement projects, gas main replacement projects, previously petitioned neighborhoods and districts that met the PUC Rule 20 guidelines.
What is proposed for future undergrounding? What criteria will be used?
Supervisor Bevan Dufty created the Utility Undergrounding Task Force this task force address the concerns that you and many other neighborhoods have expressed regarding the overhead utilities that remain throughout the City. The Task Force will provide the City with input on potential processes and approaches to assess and determine future undergrounding districts as well as look at prospective alternative funding sources for undergrounding.
What can we do now?
To keep informed about the efforts of the Utility Undergrounding Task Force, please visit http://sfdpw.org/index.aspx?page=387.