ALPINE, Calif. - Residents packed into the Alpine Community Center on Wednesday evening, upset about a new multi-million dollar plan by San Diego Gas and Electric.
The utility is proposing a five-year, $418 million project mostly in the Cleveland National Forest to replace hundreds of miles of transmission lines in the backcountry.
The plan would include replacing more than 1,800 wood poles with fire-resistant steel ones. The utility says the new fire-hardened poles would be safer and better able to withstand high winds without increasing power.
"I think that's not true," said East County resident Maribel Rodriguez. "Why are they going to put in higher lines and bigger wattage cable if they're not going to run more power?"
Rodriguez says a wooden pole stands about 20 feet from her bedroom window and she does not believe that the power company will not be increasing wattage.
Other residents voiced concerns about the look and style of the new steel and how much water it would take to construct the project.
A study is currently underway to review any changes.