After outrage from the business community two years ago, Southern California Edison committed to Santa Barbara that it would upgrade an aging system.
Some of the results are being presented to the Santa Barbara City Council today. Overall the project plans could cost in excess of $10-million.
Many projects have been underway, and electronic signs have alerted downtown drivers and workers of some lane closures or street projects where underground wiring is being replaced.
At the peak of the problem, Edison faced complaints from restaurant, theater, and residential customers when the lights went out for an extended period of time.
One outage forced the evacuation of a packed Granada Theater and the cancelation of the Tony Bennett show.
Some restaurant owners started a petition. They brought the issue into a city council meeting, where an action plan was quickly put together with Edison accelerating its repair goals for the area.
No one disputed the aging system in an old city. Santa Barbara has had similar problems with its water pipes. The repair and maintenance is known, but the funding is not always in line with the work that needs to take place.
Edison said to replace ten major circuits in downtown it takes a plan, permits and coordination with several agencies.
Spokesperson Rondi Guthrie said top company officials have come to the area to “talk about these plans to enhance reliability in the area and SCE’s vision for the grid of the future.”
Before the repair work takes place there will be a community outreach effort and frequent updates. “So some of the challenges we foresee, traffic impacts and we are going to have required maintenance outages as well, ” said Edison Project Manager Christina Gonzalez.
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