What’s the deal with odd-looking fixes to utility poles in Santa Rosa?
“It’s kind of scary looking.”
A concerned resident of Santa Rosa’s Bennett Valley neighborhood alerted me recently to something that’s been bugging her.
“Every time I drive by I just look at it and go, ‘What the hell are they thinking,’” Becky Montrose told me.
Several months ago, Montrose said she received a notice that PG&E would be upgrading utility poles and equipment in the area.
Some poles were completely replaced, but some of the work that was done left Montrose alarmed.
“There are half of old poles attached to new poles, others are sawed from the bottom and cemented with a 2x4. Others have thick ropes tied to them,” she said.
“It’s kind of scary looking.”
Long after the job’s apparently finished, Montrose hasn’t received additional information or updates from PG&E.
“We've never heard anything since then,” she said. “I believe they're done.”
According to PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian, the job was done by PG&E crews as part of a “safety and reliability project” that started in summer 2021. It is expected to finish by the end of the year after some wildfire and weather delays along the way.
PG&E’s upgrade and replacement of high-voltage equipment in Montrose’s neighborhood is permanent and complete, Sarkissian said.
She noted communication companies that share the poles are responsible for moving any of their infrastructure, like the large looped cables, to the new poles and carting off the old ones.
“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, and the project is being done in compliance with industry standards to ensure the safety of our electric equipment,” she wrote in a statement.
She added: “In addition to safety and reliability, this project will increase capacity to serve new and existing customers in the area.”
But for Montrose, the rusty 4-foot pole left sticking out of the ground in front of her house and the other odd fixes around the neighborhood don’t square with the constant ads she sees PG&E run on TV touting the millions invested in shiny new infrastructure upgrades and power line undergrounding in fire country.
It doesn’t instill confidence either.
“I'm like, ‘OK, you guys are doing great,’” she said.
“In Your Corner” is a new column that puts watchdog reporting to work for the community. If you have a concern, a tip, or a hunch, you can reach “In Your Corner” Columnist Marisa Endicott at 707-521-5470 or email@example.com. On Twitter @InYourCornerTPD and Facebook @InYourCornerTPD.
“In Your Corner” Columnist, The Press Democrat
Born and raised in Northern California, I'm dedicated to getting to know all its facets and helping track down the answers to tough questions. I want to use my experience as a journalist and an investigator to shine a light on local systems, policies and practices so residents have the information they need to advocate for the changes they want to see. I’m passionate about centering the many voices in the communities I cover, and I want readers to guide my work.
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