Only some get underground PG&E lines as Santa Rosa rebuilds after fire

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Milestones happen almost every day in the North Bay firestorm zone.

For Dennis Glynn and his wife Marilyn, it took the form of joists, now on the roof of their under-construction Larkfield Estates home in Santa Rosa, Calif. They lived there 46 years before the 2017 fire.

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"Well we are certainly making progress after a year," Marilyn said.

In nearby Coffey Park, residents celebrated another milestone today as PG&E finished nearly seven months of work replacing underground electrical and gas lines.

"We trenched 17 miles but we laid 22 miles of electric line and 10 miles of main," said PG&E spokesperson Deanna Contreras. That's every house in the neighborhood.

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But back in Larkfield Estates, residents cannot say the same, at least if they live on Brighton Court.

"Would you prefer the power lines to be underground?" ABC7 News asked Marilyn.


For these few homes, it won't happen, even though PG&E "under grounded" the rest of the neighborhood and finished early. That's frustrating to homeowner and contractor Joel Chandler.

"We are being made to build state of the art homes. They just left these old power poles because they can," Chandler said.

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Here's why. Those homes along Brighton Court predate the rest of the homes in Larkfield Estates. That means they went up under a different set of codes. PG&E said it's following a pre-determined policy.

"What we did is what we call 'like for like.' If it was underground before, we replace it underground as it was a year later," said spokesperson Contreras. The utility has opted for the fastest way to rebuild. "Like for like clears out much of the red tape. Otherwise, it's a long conversation."

Like for Like. In summary, what you had is what you get.

Along a small block in Larkfield Estates, they do not like that.

"I wish I could rebuild the same house I have and not upgrade anything," Chandler said.

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