On March 19, 2007 a number of New Monterey residents attended a meeting
about undergrounding the utilities. The meeting was conduced by Tom Reeves,
and Richard Llanteros. The following potential schedule was discussed:
Attendees learned that the undergrounding process will take at least
3 years. The
following is a description of the process:
- FIRST YEAR
- Decide what area is to be included in the initial interest
- Circulate initial interest survey. Record favorable and unfavorable
votes, one for each property.
- If more than 50% are in favor, approach your neighborhood
committee for funding to proceed with initial estimate. NIP Committee
and City Council have to approve this funding.
- SECOND YEAR
- Once funding is approved, PG&E prepares a preliminary
engineering study of the probable cost to perform the undergrounding.
- The results of the preliminary engineering study are presented
to the property owners within the proposed assessment district. A petition
is then circulated to each of the property owners. If a majority of the
property owners wish to continue. The underground district is established.
A 60% or greater majority avoids the 1931 Protest Act.
- The NIP committee and the City Council need to approve funding
for the cost to prepare engineering plans and estimates, preparation
of the Engineer’s Report and hiring of a bond counsel.
- The Engineer’s Report is presented to the City Council
at a protest hearing. If approved by the City Council, the assessments
are levied and the improvements are constructed.
Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) funding can defray the cost
of preliminary engineering and the administrative costs of setting up
an Assessment District.
NMNA is supporting residents who have indicated strong interest in the undergrounding
of the utilities. A petition to ascertain owner interest is being circulated
to owners on Archer 300-900, Grace & Terry
500-900, and Jessie/Lobos/Lottie 500-800 blocks, including houses on cross-streets.
Petition responses will be tallied April 18th. The NIP Committee welcomes public
comment at Hilltop Park Center April 19th at 7PM. The vote on NIP priority comes
April 26th in the City Council chambers.
Questions or comments may be directed to Sharon
Dwight, NIP Representative for
New Monterey, 375-0841
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Frequently asked questions about under-grounding the utilities:
- What is Rule 20?
- Rule 20 is a set of policies and procedures established
by the California Public Utilities Commission to regulate the conversion
of overhead electric equipment to underground facilities, a process
called “undergrounding.” Rule 20 determines the level
of ratepayer funding for different undergrounding arrangements.
a project have to meet all the criteria to qualify as a Rule 20A
or Rule 20B project?
- No. Just one.
- How do property owners know if
they are Included in the established underground district?
the utility district is established, all affected property owners
are notified via written correspondence from the Department of Public
- How can I get an undergrounding project started?
- Contact your
NIP Representative or the City of Monterey Public Works Department
- Will my neighborhood experience fewer power outages
after our electric lines have been undergrounded?
- Information from
several Utility Companies is inconclusive. Generally, in areas that
experience frequent heavy winds, outages decrease when lines are
undergrounded. In wetter areas, outages may increase due to the effect
of water seepage on underground equipment.
- Will the outages be longer
- There is also inconclusive information that seems to
indicate that outages tend to be longer with underground facilities,
simply because it is more difficult to find problems and replace
- What do the pad-mounted transformers look
- The exact size will be determined during the design process.
To get an approximate idea, one could view the Del Monte Beach Neighborhood
for a typical undergrounded residential area. There is also an in-ground
(subsurface) transformer vault, available. Again, the exact size
will be determined during the design process.
- Are there any special
requirements (electrical/wiring upgrades) for older homes?
- No. The
conversion of overhead to underground distribution will not require
rewiring of houses. Only the service entrance panel will have to
be modified to accept conduits and cables coming from the ground.
- Are underground facilities more or less expensive than underground?
- Underground facilities are more expensive to install and maintain
than overhead equipment. The cost of overhead equipment is about
20% of the cost of underground. Maintenance costs for underground
facilities are also higher than for overhead.
- What is the cost to
the individual homeowner?
- Each homeowner is responsible for two cost
elements (1) the share of undergrounding the general area or neighborhood
(main lines); and (2) the cost of converting the lines to underground
the lateral (service) and modifying the service entrance panel. Cost
(1) will not be known until the conversion project has been laid
out and project costs have been estimated. Previous estimates in
the New Monterey Neighborhood ranges from $15,000 to $20,000 for
each homeowner to underground to the meter. Cost (2) can be determined
by each homeowner by obtaining an estimate from an electrical contractor.
- Who is the approving authority in the selection of establishing underground
- The City Council is the approving authority of
all underground Utility Districts.