It's a fact: Overhead utility wires and poles are ugly and dangerous. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Why do we risk lives and interfere with our views, our streetscapes, and our property values when it isn't necessary?
Safety is a significant issue: Overhead utilities can present a substantial danger in storms, and may cause fires from arcing or downed lines. Public safety vehicles (police, fire, and ambulance) cannot cross such lines to provide assistance in an emergency. Overhead wires represent a hazard to autos and to children at play (did you ever lose a kite that way?). Some people also believe that exposure to electromagnetic radiation from overhead wires can pose long term health risks. Radiation exposure is reduced when the wires are below ground.
Utility wires make it difficult and expensive to maintain attractive trees. Look around your area and count the number of trees that have suffered from severe or improper pruning to keep them below overhead wires. Think about the other trees that you won't see at all, trees that were never planted because a property owner decided it would be too troublesome and expensive to keep them away from the wires.
In spite of these facts, the utility companies have always resisted spending the money to place their facilities underground. With PG&E currently in financial difficulty, they are even less interested in undertaking these projects voluntarily. However, it can be done! If you are considering undergrounding the utilities in your neighborhood, you'll find it a challenge where the results are well worth the effort.
This site will help you learn more about what you and your neighbors can do to eliminate overhead wires and poles from your area. Most communities in California already have undergrounding programs in place, but limited funding and low priority for residential streets means that it may take twenty years or more for a particular neighborhood to make it to the top of the list -- if it ever gets there at all..
If you and your neighbors are willing to invest some time, energy, and money you can get the work done now instead of in a decade or two.