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California Rule 20

Categories Program Description

As authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Liberty works with local governments to underground overhead electric power lines in the public interest through the Rule 20 program. Potential benefits of undergrounding power lines include:

  • Aesthetic improvements, particularly in scenic areas, through the removal of power lines and poles from view 
  • Enhanced safety through the elimination of safety issues that arise from vehicles crashing into poles or from vegetation igniting fire when contacting the overhead conductors
  • Enhanced reliability through the reduction of vulnerability to high winds, winter storms, Mylar balloons, and animals

The CPUC’s Rule 20 program contributes to the fair, efficient allocation of ratepayer funds to communities for the undergrounding of electric infrastructure in the public interest.

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Rule 20 Categories

Rule 20 has three categories:

  • Rule 20A: Rule 20A projects are nominated by the city or county and are funded by the electric utility ratepayers. These projects take place in areas of the community that are most often used by the general public and must meet criteria for being in the public interest.
  • Rule 20B: Rule 20B projects are mostly funded by the applicant responsible for the undergrounding of the electrical system.
  • Rule 20C: Rule 20C projects are funded by those requesting the undergrounding of electric infrastructure.

(Source: CPUC