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Underground power lines could end Paradise power safety shutoffs

The Town of Paradise approved in 2019 for PG&E to start laying down power lines underground. Thursday, they gave an update but public safety power shut-off events were on a lot of people's minds.

Posted: Nov 12, 2020 11:58 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2020 8:24 AM

PARADISE, Calif. - PG&E heard from the people of Paradise and gave updates on public safety power shutoffs and underground power lines.

The Town of Paradise approved in 2019 for PG&E to start laying down power lines underground. Thursday, they gave an update, but public safety power shut-offs (PSPS) events were on a lot of people's minds.

"The undergrounding is huge. It's going to make us a much safer community," said Paradise Town Vice Mayor Steve Crowder.

"We're almost done with about 40 miles of undergrounding between last year and this year 26 miles of it has been energized," said PG&E Electrical Division Vice President Aaron Johnson. "The other 14 we expect it to get energized either this year or early next."

In front of the Paradise Police Department on Black Olive Rd. you can see this is fresh asphalt that was just laid down after PG&E dug up this road and laid down the underground circuits.

"The single biggest underground project PG&E has ever undertaken," said Johnson. "And certainly the most undergrounding we're doing anywhere on the entire electrical grid."

But a lot of folks that have gone through the nine PSPS events this year wanted their voices to be heard.

"Losing our food and everything, but just our quality of life during the PSPS," said a gentleman, who did not say his name, about his frustration over PSPS events.

"The issue tonight is the PSPS and what it's doing to our town," said Crowder.

"We consider it at PG&E our tool of last resort," said Johnson about PSPS events.

"We don't want another fire, but we have businesses holding on by a thread," Crowder emphasized the effect PSPS events have on the town. "Our residents are tired of throwing food out. I'm sure we won't be able to eliminate them for the time being but if we can mitigate them."

PG&E says laying down powerlines underground could lead to the eventual end of power safety shutoffs.

"You connect that transmission line with a fully underground town, that should eliminate the risk," said Johnson.

PG&E is in the first year of what they say is a five year project to get the entire town's powerlines underground.

The Town of Paradise is still working to have other utilities like Comcast and AT&T make the move underground as well.

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