Southern California Edison, like the gas and oil companies, regulates itself. For 25 years I have watched SCE place unsightly and dangerous transformers in tree tops. I have complained about the dangers of power lines, wires, and transformers criss-crossing through not only residential and rural areas but heavily vegetated state park lands. For 25 years SCE’s slick PR team assured me there was no danger and my observations were dismissed.
When my neighbors and I asked about burying power lines, SCE always came up with the same answer, “It’s too expensive.” Many coastal towns in Eastern Europe, including Santa Barbara’s sister city Kotor, Montenegro, have their utilities safely underground despite their country’s economic hardships.
For SCE to turn off our power during severe weather conditions is a confession of how dangerous their antiquated system truly is. My neighborhood on Eucalyptus Hill was hit with over $100,000 worth of damage caused by an electrical blow-out, and SCE refused to take financial responsibility. The neighborhood had no choice put to pay out of pocket for damages occurred. We must demand underground utilities to ensure safety for Mother Nature and us all.
Elon Musk has plans of getting us to Mars, yet we can’t get our local and state government to update our utility system.