Electric System Conversion

two utility workers pulling up a box of tools, red ladder inside the undeground room

Undergrounding, or placing overhead lines under city streets, is completed for two different reasons in Pasadena. The Underground Utility Districts Program was created with beautification and public safety in mind. Construction costs for the Underground Utility District Program are funded in part by an Underground Surtax, collected from all PWP electric customer bills.

Separate and apart from the Underground Utility Districts Program, PWP also coordinates construction projects in order to upgrade and expand the city's power system.

Program Summary

  • Independent of the Underground Program
  • Overhead wires are undergrounded but utility poles may remain
  • Program funded by Capital Improvement Budget


Electric System Conversion is done in order to underground all overhead electric systems, specifically communication and power lines. The undergrounding of overhead electric systems reduces the number of outages PWP has each year, and improves the aesthetic quality of an area.

Newer projects that fall under this program typically cover very short distances and do not result in removal of utility poles, as other equipment associated with telephone and cable TV services remain overhead.

After the installation of underground infrastructure, cables, trans­formers and other facilities, the affected property owners can install conduits from their property line at the sidewalk to their existing meter or designated service point. The cost of the work ranges from $3,000 to $10,000, in which the City will reimburse each property owner up to $3,000 or the lesser actual cost of the work to underground private power facilities. Customers interested in undergrounding existing overhead wires, can access the application by clicking here.

Removal of overhead wires will take place after all affected property owners complete the underground conversion and are connected to the underground system.

Program Funding

Funding for the Electric System Conversion Program is provided by electric rate revenue designated by the City Council for approved capital improvement projects. Funding for the property owner reimbursement comes from the Underground Utility Districts Tax. PWP will continue the Electric System Conversion Program in areas designated by the annual Capital Improvement Budget.