James Island, SC (WCBD) – In the Riverland Terrace neighborhood in James Island, homeowners want their power lines upgraded underground to protect their live oaks, but South Carolina Electric and Gas wants to upgrade the existing powerlines above ground. The high-priority upgrade has been at a standstill for more than 2 years, but this week Charleston County Council stepped in with a resolution.
Both the homeowners and SCE&G can agree that the powerlines must be upgraded to a higher voltage to continue supporting the neighborhood, but, the costly expense of doing it underground has paused the upgrade– neither party wanting to solely take on the expense. However, since the upgrade cannot be delayed much longer and must be done to ensure public safety, the Charleston County Council has voted on a $26,000 study of the neighborhood powerlines.
Jenny Costa Honeycutt, Charleston County Council Member, District 9 says the study will determine a more concrete estimate about undergrounding the power lines.
“County Council has voted to move forward approving a $26,000 study of Riverland Terrace to determine what areas of the system which have to be upgraded could be buried underline.”
Charleston County Council says that this study is a multi-party contractual agreement between the city, the county, SCE&G Dominion, and the neighborhood. The findings from the study will help determine a cost estimate and then both the municipality, the residents of Riverland Terrace, and the electric company will pay a percentage of the cost.
The Riverland Terrace Neighborhood says that they are willing to share in the cost of an underground powerline upgrade. Troy Miller, President of Riverland Terrace Neighborhood Association says, “Our neighborhood cares deeply about this and I have had a tremendous amount of feedback that it is something they are willing to do in order to preserve the character of our neighborhood.”
South Carolina Gas & Electric will be responsible for contracting someone to conduct the study. They say, “While we respect and appreciate the natural beauty of the landscape surrounding the communities in which we live and work, safety and reliability remain our top priorities.”
The Charleston County Council says that if you live in an unincorporated area, marked as high priority by SCE&G, that you can also have this study done. The first step would be to contact your council member.