Letter to the Editor: Undergrounding is not Safe

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I have followed with interest the undergrounding debate. One fact continually mentioned by those in favor of undergrounding is safety and reliability. These are false claims.

The electric company itself started the Edison Electric Above-Ground Equipment Initiative in 2010 “to increase worker safety and increase electric system reliability” and to constrain upward pressure on utility rates.

It is difficult for me to believe that the City of Newport Beach would compromise the safety of SCE employees or their contract workers just for aesthetics. There are examples of SCE employees or contract workers being injured or killed in underground vault explosions when you do an internet search for “underground vault explosions.”

In fact, as recent as May 15, there was an electrical vault explosion in Northridge causing a steel manhole cover to land on cars where three people were injured and power was lost at Cal State Northridge.

Of course, no system is accident-proof but it is duplicitous to state as fact that undergrounding is safer and more reliable.

This kind of false claim distracts from the main argument against the current undergrounding petition: it is wrong to force homeowners to pay upwards of tens of thousands of dollars and rip up their homes (at their own additional expense) for a non-essential reason. Stop the undergrounding petition now.

Jerry Grant

Newport Heights

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