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Live in Alpine? Get a generator.

SDG&E cuts power to replace wood poles

SDG&E is replacing wooden poles with steel.
  • SDG&E is replacing wooden poles with steel.

SDG&E sent out a letter announcing weekly power outages for the months of August and September in the Carveacre neighborhood in Alpine. Over 100 customers will be affected up to nine hours a day, one day a week. People in the affected area say the project is good, but the timing is not right, especially when there are homes without electricity after the Alpine fire in July.

View of Carveacre from Gaskill Peak

View of Carveacre from Gaskill Peak

Alpine resident Bill Smith said SDG&E has been “cutting power off at least once a month for the past three or so months. Not everyone can afford a generator and people who have solar panels lose the credit for the entire day. We all have wells here and can’t run the water without power.” Smith has 19-month-old twins and said it’s difficult to keep them in the house during 100-degree temperatures “even with the windows open.”

Allison Torres with SDG&E said the company is replacing wooden poles with steel poles while upgrading and strengthening the power lines in an effort “to make them fire and wind resistant.” Answering the concern about the timing, Torres said SDG&E takes the weather conditions in consideration and “we are actively monitoring all outages even after we schedule them.”

Carveacre resident Linda Ascione Niman said, “The absolute worst power outages are when SDG&E deliberately turns off our power during dangerous Santa Ana conditions. This is very frightening because we feel totally defenseless. They are only protecting themselves from being liable if their wire start a fire.”

Local resident Jerry Peel believes that preparation is mandatory for such circumstances. “Living in the back country, you need to be prepared for anything if power is a concern. It’s simple, people need to learn how to take care of themselves and not be dependent on the grid. Buy a generator.”

The planned outages are part of the Cleveland National Forest Fire Risk Mitigation Initiative which has been in work for the past 10 years. The Cleveland National Forest plan aims to replace “approximately 2,100 existing wood poles with fire-resistant, weatherized steel poles that closely resemble wood."

Due to extreme temperature, SDG&E cancelled one scheduled day of power outage so far for the month of August.

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Replacing those wooden poles with the new steel poles is a great idea, and SDG&E can do no less in light of the outrageous rates we pay for power. But the folks in Alpine are oh, so right; the timing is all wrong. If they have AC in Alpine, it is because they need it. The past month and a half has been just plain hot, and sticky most of the time too. No power means the refrigerator doesn't run, heats up, and food starts to spoil. And a whole host of other inconveniences. I thought electric power was supposed to be for convenience and modern life. For all the claims it makes about caring for its customers, SDG&E does whatever is most convenient for itself.

SDG&E management is concerned only about its stockholders, many of whom are the SDG&E employees themselves. With nepotism rampant throughout the company, their workforce, with a few exceptions, is an overpaid, overcompensated, mediocre collection of slackers; the exceptions being their skilled engineers and field techs. With most managerial positions being filled from this pool of mediocrity, it's no surprise that some idiot scheduled system upgrades and subsequent power shutdowns in Alpine during the hottest months of the year. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) should come to the rescue...But, oh yeah...that's right...SDG&E, Southern California Edison, and Pacific Gas and Electric (and their lobbyists) own them! Disgusting!

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