Over the past decade, we have invested more than $3 billion in a variety of safety measures to prevent catastrophic wildfires. Strategic undergrounding of overhead power lines is one element of our multi-pronged approach to reducing wildfire risk for the safety of our communities.
Since 2007, our team has replaced 26,000 wood poles with fire-resistant steel poles, as well as undergrounded about 70 miles of overhead power lines. One area of focus for our strategic undergrounding efforts is Valley Center, a rural community in northern San Diego that is considered high-risk for wildfires.
Over the past two years, our crews and contractors have been working to bury power lines along Paradise Mountain in Valley Center. For projects like this, we will sometimes rent space from residents to store the crews’ equipment. In this case, our crews and contractors were storing their equipment on a property owned by Pastor Timothy Mena, who had nothing but kind words to say about his experience throughout the length of the strategic undergrounding project. He also praised the crews, contractors, and team for being kind, respectful, and helpful to the community when they see someone in need.
Pastor Mena reached out to our Project Manager, Lynette Aquino, to share his appreciation: “I’ve been here through it all and your crews were professional, considerate and very attentive to everyone’s concerns. From the men working in the trenches, environmental, security, project coordinators and managers, field support to the supervisors overseeing, you have top-notch crews!”
Leaving It Better Than We Found It
After the undergrounding was complete, our team also decided to pave the dirt road leading up to Pastor Mena’s house, which Mena and his family were very grateful for as they were worried about the road washing out. He said his yard, which was used to store equipment, is now looking even better than before since our contractors and team leveled and graveled the area.
“Our Strategic Undergrounding Program is gaining great support from the communities because they recognize our efforts to help reduce/eliminate wildfire risk and public safety power shut-off impacts. Additionally, we always treat the work we do with care and leave the area the way it was, or in even better shape than we found it,” said Lynette Aquino. “In this case, we took that extra step to pave the road after we completed the job and it’s very gratifying to see that the residents in the area appreciated this. The safety of our communities is always our top priority, but we also look for other ways we can make a positive impact.”
“We really appreciate all that you have done for us,” said Pastor Mena. “If you need a storage lot again, we’d love to have your crews back!”
For more information on our other wildfire safety efforts, visit https://www.sdge.com/our-commitment-wildfire-safety.