Yesterday on NextDoor, someone wanted to know what was going on with so much PG&E activity in our neighborhood.
I was curious, too, and even more so because today I saw this outside my house – a fleet of PG&E trucks, complete with a porta-potty. I counted four large trucks, and an earth mover.
The earth-mover was parked way at the back, waiting.
There was even a truck blocking one of our garages. When we came out, the PG&E guy running the project offered to moved it if we wanted. As it happened, we didn’t need that garage today, so we said not to bother.
Two men were digging a hole near the house opposite.
I asked one of the PG&E men what it was about. They’d done a survey some time back, he said, checking for leaks. They were now fixing the ones where they’d detected a problem. He said they had already completed a couple of jobs.
After the terrible accident in San Bruno, I’m glad they’re being proactive here.
The earthmover came down by our house. I’m not sure why it was wearing so much jewelry.
The truck in front of my house tipped up, and the earthmover grabbed the soil. I presume they filled in the hole they’d dug.
Within a couple of hours, they were done and had moved on. The road was empty, the signs and traffic cones gone, and all was quiet.
Here’s PG&E fixing the power lines. (If some of the pictures are a bit fuzzy it’s because I’m taking them through glass, at an angle…)
The tree-fall occurred around 3.35 p.m. It involved two trees — one a cypress, I think, and one a stump of a eucalyptus that had already been trimmed of all its branches. I called 911 at 3.40 p.m.
By 5.50, PG&E had a cherry-picker out there, with two workers ready to chainsaw the trees out. Presumably they’d shut off the power along there much earlier.
First they tackled the cypress, carefully trimming off the branches. They piled up underneath, looking like the remnants of a Christmas tree lot. The workers freed each wire from the mass, letting it spring back to its original position. Finally, the trunk was resting on a single wire. Then they tackled the eucalyptus stump.
They sliced it off into logs, each dropping to the road with a thud.
When it was done, they returned to the cypress. By now, most of the power lines had been freed up.
Once they removed that, the lines all sprang back into place. They were apparently pretty resilient, despite the spectacular blue sparking I’d seen earlier. None of them had broken or even sagged visibly from where they normally hang.
All that was left was to inspect the lines. It was 6.07 p.m. and they were pretty much done.
The pink paint marking the drains, and the broken water main a few months ago, drew attention to all the stuff that’s happening below our streets. So the other day, we wandered around with our cameras pointing at all the circles and rectangles on the sidewalk. There were a lot of them: a wealth of services beneath our feet, representing civilization, urban comfort, and the conveniences of Forest Knolls. It’s strange to think we’re only a couple of generations away from fetching water from wells, using outhouses, and lighting our nights with candles and our streets with gas.
It was an interesting mix of covers. This grating was like a piece of modern art, with the ladder reaching down to a reflective circle of water below. At first, it appeared to be a drain of some sort… but it’s got the words PG&E and “High Voltage.”
Another “High Voltage” cover was more prosaic, a simple concrete rectangle.
In fact, quite a few covers on the street were from PG&E. This manhole cover with a nice geometric design seems to be, though it’s difficult to know which cover does what. (If anyone knows, leave a comment! Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Another whole bunch were from the Water Department. (The sewer cover’s included here, though it’s actually labeled SFDPW.)
The little square with holes in it is most probably a drain cover.
But the handsomest cover on the street is a cast iron oval with the Golden Gate Bridge on it, labeled San Francisco Water Department Meter Box. Wonder when it was made? Some time in the 1950s, when Forest Knolls was built?
TELEPHONES AND TV AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS
And then there’s the Telephones. And the TV Cable. And the Survey Monument, which doesn’t represent a utility but instead helps put us on the map and define the lots on which our homes are built. And the Street Lights. And “Electrical” again, but it’s not clear what and why, though it may be connected with the Street Lights since the covers are together and next to a lamp post.
And then there was this odd-looking pair of covers labeled PT-T. Anyone know what they are?
.Edited to Add: PT-T probably stands for Pacific Telephones and Telegraphs… (see the comment to this post – Thanks, Laura).
Or why X marks the spot on this sewer-cover?
Edited to Add: Just saw this — the moss has picked out “Bell System” on this cover.