Utility firms required to go underground in city

BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance requiring all public utility companies utilizing wires and cables to install underground lines and obliging the firms to convert their overhead lines within the central business district into underground lines to lessen the eye sore and uninterrupted services to the public.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that it will be the policy of the City Government to impose this requirement starting with those in the central business district area.

Under the proposed local legislation, all existing utility overhead lines, whether wires or cables, within the central business district shall be converted to underground lines within a period of six months from the approval of the ordinance.

On the other hand, all public utility companies found to have violated the pertinent provisions of the ordinance shall be meted a penalty of P5,000 plus cancellation of their permits and closure of their business establishments.

Yangot pointed that as one of the premier tourist destinations in the country, the city has always been implementing tourism and safety programs that help attract visitor’s year-round.

However, he noted that the tangled dangling wires of public utility companies and cable networks are eyesores and pose eminent danger to the public.

Yangot said that due to the safety challenges to persons and properties, an appropriate legislation is needed to address these concerns for these concerned entities to fix their lines and if necessary adopt underground installations.

It will be recalled that the matter of converting the overhead lines of public utility companies to underground wiring or cable system had been deliberated in the previous councils but the proposed measure had not progressed beyond third reading due to the concerns raised by concerned companies to meet the huge investment required for the conversion to underground wiring system and the reliability of the said system in the future.

The council will conduct consultations with stakeholders to listen to their issues and concerns as well as their recommendations on how the city and concerned government agencies can resolve these eyesores and risky situation posed by dangling cables and wires in the central business district area.

It was learned that low-lying wires are owned by cable and telephone companies while those at a higher elevations are owned by the local electric cooperative./By Dexter A. See


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