MARILYN & LEN GARDNER, co-founders of the P.A.L. Coalition, Dana Point
Supervisor Lisa Bartlett did an excellent job in her guest opinion column of bringing attention to the fire danger posed to our community by overhead powerlines. She also described some of the regulations, such as California Public Utilities Commission Rule 20A, that provide a way to fund the work of getting the lines buried.
As she points out, Rule 20A has proved so cumbersome that it’s rarely used. Fortunately, the City Council has approved a Rule 20 project in Dana Point, the first in over 20 years. This will be to underground the powerlines along Stone Hill, from Golden Lantern to Palo Alto.
At the urging of P.A.L. (the Poles and Lines Coalition) and others, Congressman Mike Levin has worked to make federal funds available from the recent bipartisan infrastructure act so that the city will have enough money to pay for this work.
Supervisor Bartlett’s larger point, though, still holds, which is to ask, “How much longer do we have to wait, and how much more devastation, death and destruction do taxpayers have to endure, before serious action is taken to underground power lines?”
That question should be put to the power companies, like Edison, PG&E and SDG&E, who enjoy a complete monopoly within their service areas. They must bear some responsibility for the problem. It is time for them to become proactive and begin the process before being forced to.