‘This is to prevent the hacking of our trees’: City of Charleston approves plan with Dominion Energy to bury power lines

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A unanimous decision from Charleston City Council means you may be seeing less power lines hanging above the Holy City.

This plan comes after many years of neighborhood leaders pushing for something to be done about their power lines. However, some have been waiting 20 years with nothing coming to fruition.

Tracy McKee, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Charleston, says the biggest issue has been the limitations for the funding set aside for projects like burying power lines.

“The way it was set up was basically by neighborhood…and it was really challenging to get these projects to the finish line,” says McKee.

According to McKee, the funding was part of the city’s deal with Dominion Energy made in the late 1990s.

The idea behind this new plan was to allow the City of Charleston to take the reigns on this project and change the ordinance that limited how the funding can be used. This new proposal passed unanimously before council.

“These improvements that we’re putting into place will allow more projects to get into the ground all over the city. It’s really exciting to think about,” says Councilmember Ross Appell.

The 2 main reasons why city leaders and community members are going to begin burying power lines are 1.) Protecting power lines when severe weather hits and 2.) Protecting Lowcountry trees from being chopped down.

According to McKee, Dominion Energy has to keep their power lines clear of trees and debris as a safety concern and to ensure they will continue supplying power.

City leaders are hoping this plan will be a win-win that will affect residents of the Lowcountry in a positive way.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand; if you put the power lines underground, it will allow the trees to grow and flourish,” says Appell.

The city will soon begin surveying neighborhoods and commercial areas across the Lowcountry to find locations in need of their power lines being buried.

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