San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) is hoping to receive approval of their plan to turn off the electricity to large sections of San Diego County during periods of high fire danger. Some have complained that this is primarily a strategy that is less expensive than to harden their infrastructure against strong winds.
But they are taking a small step in the right direction, in that they are replacing some of their wooden power poles with steel poles. They already have about 700 steel poles and expect to replace 1,200 wooden poles in 2009. Ultimately they have plans to replace some poles in the communities of Alpine, Valley Center, Escondido, El Cajon, and Bonita.
That is the good news. The rest of the story is that they have 75,000 wooden poles in areas defined as “high” and “very high” fire risk by CalFire. At the current rate of replacement, all of those wooden poles would be replaced by 2071.