Utility Underground District No. 47

Utility Underground District No. 47

This City of Palo Alto Utilities Department (CPAU) project will convert the utility lines from overhead to underground. It involves the installation of new underground electric, communication, and cable television systems and homeowner’s conversion of their services to underground so that the overhead lines and poles can be removed.


A majority of the utility poles in the City of Palo Alto are jointly owned by the City and AT&T. The establishment of Utility Underground Districts (“UUD) is governed by City of Palo Alto Utilities Rule and Regulation 17, Conversion of Electric and Communication Facilities to Underground. AT&T is also regulated by CPUC Rule 32. CPAU and AT&T agree on the boundaries of a UUD and CPAU will work on the process on adoption of the City Ordinance to establish the district.

Ordinance No. 5180 establishing UUD 47 was passed by Council in January 2013. The ordinance amended Section 12.16.020 of the Palo Alto Municipal Code which requires that poles, overhead lines, and associated overhead structures in districts be removed.


The project will involve excavation and trenching to install conduits and boxes (substructures); installation of underground wires and equipment by involved utilities; conversion by homeowners of their services; connection of customer’s services to the new underground systems, and removal of overhead wire, equipment, and poles.

The work will primarily be in the area bounded by Forest Avenue, Middlefield Road, Lincoln Avenue, and Cowper Street. At times it may be necessary to block portions of the street to facilitate the installation of the underground substructures , wires, and equipment. Impacted customers will be given advance notification of scheduled power outages when new equipment must be connected to the electrical system.

Our goal is to continue to provide dependable electric service to our customers. We greatly appreciate your cooperation and patience during the construction period, and are looking forward to the improvements this project will provide.


Construction Contractor: MPNexlevel,
Project Engineer (City): Gopal Jagannath, (650) 566-4516
Field Inspector (Contract): Juan Colin
After Hours in an Emergency: CPA Communications, (650) 329-2413

Tentative Schedule:

Substructure installation: Finished
Electric System Installation: approximately spring 2017
Homeowner’s service conversion: by June 30, 2018
Communication/CATV System Installation: approximately summer 2018
Pole Removal by AT&T: Once all services have been converted to underground and all overhead facilities can be removed.


Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm


The City of Palo Alto Contractor (MP Nexlevel) commenced the installation of substructure (conduits, boxes/vaults) on April 1, 2015. MP Nexlevel has completed installation of conduits and boxes on a majority of Homer Avenue, Addison Avenue, and Webster Street between Addison and Lincoln Avenue. Following is the tentative schedule for remaining substructure installation subject to weather conditions. 

MP Nextlevel is finishing up construction on Homer Avenue.  All that remains is correction of punchlist items and final inspection.


 Planned Start Date

 Webster between Channing & Addison Avenue

  During week of 08/10/2015

 Channing Avenue between Middlefield Road & Webster Street

 During week of 09/14/2015

 Channing Avenue between Webster & Cowper Street

  During week of 09/28/2015

 Webster Street between Homer & Forest Avenue

 During week of 10/12/2015

 Remaining work on Homer Avenue between Middlefield Road & Webster Street (postponed due to Water Main Replacement Project)

 During week of 11/02/2015

The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) has finished the installation of substructures (conduits, boxes and vaults) to facilitate the installation of underground electric, fiber optic, telephone and cable television systems. The next phase is for CPAU to install and energize the underground electric system (wires, transformers, etc.), and remove the overhead electric lines. Once CPAU is completed with their work, AT&T and Comcast will come in to install their underground systems. While this is going on, homeowners should be preparing their properties to convert from overhead service to underground. Conversion of individual services will occur as customers are ready, but no longer than 3 months after completion of the underground electric system. Removal of all overhead wires, equipment, and poles will occur when all utility service conversions are completed.

There was a delay in the project as approved funding for the project was in adequate. Changes made in the original design for optimizing reliability of the electric distribution system, and increases in the cost of materials (switches, transformers and associated cables) and labor, 20% and 15% respectively, required CPAU to seek approval for additional funding from Council. The staff report for the additional funding goes to Council on December 5th. We anticipate Council approval and the revised schedule for completion of the project is given below:


 Planned Start Date

Procurement of Materials (Electric Equipment, Street Lighting Pole and Cables)

  January-February 2017

Electric System Installation (Transformers/Switches/Cables, etc.) & Energizing the Underground Electric Distribution System

 March- May 2017

 Communication & CATV Installation

  June - July 2017

 Home Owner's Service Conversion 

 August-October 2017

 Pole Removal (AT&T will remove the poles once all the homes are connected to the new underground electric distribution system)

 November - February 2018 

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2017