As reported in The Independent:
“After noticing the PG&E workers near Bear Creek Drive and Garaventa Hill, nearby neighbors began asking questions about why power was being extended to an open space area that environmentalists recently battled and later won in court protecting it from a luxury housing project proposed by Lafferty Communities Inc.”
Vladimir Pavlushkin worked for an environmental engineering consulting firm and has experience with encroachment permits. He asked for a copy of the work permit and looked at the specifications. It showed that a residential power line was being pulled down Bear Creek Drive, parallel to existing utilities. It will serve no purpose and basically dead-ends with the street and never be needed.
It turns out that PG&E asked the city for a permit to do work on the street, which is a common activity for any utility, and the company did not look deeper into the issue of whether electrical service would still be needed. The housing development it would have supplied was to be called Garaventa Hills, and it should have been common knowledge by then that the site is not buildable for environmental reasons. That part of the memo did not seem to reach all the right people.
Apparently the previous developer of the proposed tract (Lafferty Communities) had requested the work be done at some point, and PG&E eventually followed up with a request of their own from the City of Livermore. It seems to be an extreme case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing.
We applaud PG&E for taking any steps to improve the grid reliability and safety. It would be prudent for them to more carefully determine which projects are necessary and which should not be pursued. With all the power outages we had recently, priority should be given to areas that suffer failures due to capacity constriction.