Utility Wires A Growing Concern In SF


SAN FRANCISCO—A network of utility wires large enough to wrap around the planet more than six times has become a problem in the state of California.

For the past 50 years, California has made an effort to line utility wires underground. The network, spanning 152,000 miles overhead, has proved difficult to bury.

Utility wires have become the focus of controversy in a budget-tight city.

Utility consumers currently pay an estimated price of $1 per month to support the project, a source of funding the state has leaned heavily upon.

Activists are now calling for an acceleration of the project, championing not only aesthetic, but safety concerns as the principal arguments for their cause. According to San Francisco Coalition to Underground Utilities chair, Anne Brubaker, the project as currently planned will take 600 years to successfully complete.

San Francisco has already buried approximately half of its wires. Over 470 miles of wiring still remain, a clean-up project in which the necessary funds are not available.

In order to execute future grounding, the city will have to will have to surmise a plan more efficient than the last effort, which halted in 2005 after running far over budget.

Supporters of future projects are expected to make a proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission at a later date in 2015.