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The City of San Diego Underground Utilities Program is made up of City engineers and support staff who work with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), SBC and Cox Communications or Time Warner Cable (depending on the area of the city). We work as partners in removing certain overhead power and communication poles and wires that are currently above ground, and placing them below ground for the safety of pedestrians, for the improved appearance of neighborhoods, and for the increased reliability of electric and cable systems.

In 1967 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued Decision 73708, Case 8209, which mandates that all electric utility companies subject to regulation by the CPUC budget funds annually for the undergrounding of overhead lines in the public right of way. The electric utility company, following priorities established by the local agencies within its service area, accomplishes this work. The ongoing process within San Diego is a response to decision 73078, Case 8209 which is more commonly referred to as Rule 20-A. Approximately $10 million worth of Rule 20 A projects are completed in the city each year. Under Resolution E-3788, the City spends an additional amount of money, approximately $44 million each year, on surcharge projects, which quadruples the pace of undergrounding throughout the city. Surcharge projects are funded by the increased franchise fee authorized by the CPUC in Resolution E-3788. Projects that fall into the surcharge category are typically found in residential areas that do not meet Rule 20-A criteria.

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