One of the most inspiring and forward-looking municipal improvement projects in the country is currently underway in the Town of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where crews are more than halfway through a 15-year project to put overhead power lines underground.
The effort is the result of a 2004 Town ordinance requiring the conversion of all overhead power lines to underground.
The purpose of the project is to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and visitors, increase the reliability of electric service, and boost the local economy by improving the aesthetics of an island that receives more than 2.3 million visitors annually.
The conversion process relies on a partnership between the Town and the utility company Palmetto Electric. The project is being paid for with a 3% monthly fee assessed to the utility bills of the roughly 1800 commercial and 35,000 residential customers on the Island.
The project will put nearly 76 miles of overhead power lines underground at a total estimated cost of $34,777,000, and will be completed in 2019.
Special thanks to Marc L. Torin of the Community Development Department of Hilton Head Island for providing photos and background information for this report.