California Rule 20

PacifiCorp dba Pacific Power is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Get more information on CPUC’s undergrounding rules.

As authorized by the CPUC, Pacific Power partners with local governments to underground its overhead electric power lines through the Rule 20 program. The benefits of overhead-to-underground conversion include:

  • Improvements in community aesthetics of local neighborhoods, civic areas, and commercial districts
  • Reduction or elimination of congestion of poles in high foot and vehicular traffic areas
  • Increased grid resiliency
  • Improve system reliability
  • Reduced likelihood of power outages caused by vehicle accidents that damage power poles.

Undergrounding projects are costly and tend to benefit those in the immediate vicinity the most, so the CPUC limits the funding of conversions by the general ratepayer under its Rule 20 program.


Rule 20 has three categories referred to as Rules 20A, 20B and 20C:

  • Rule 20A: This is the portion of Rule 20 used by communities to fund overhead-to-underground conversions.  Rule 20A conversions are ratepayer funded with maximum limits as established under the rule.  The projects must also meet the criteria for a general public benefit as listed in the rule. 
  • Rule 20B: Conversions under 20B require the community, business, or developer to fund most of the conversion cost and are less common.
  • Rule 20C: Conversions under 20C are funded by those requesting the conversion.  Typically, these consist of a home or business converting their overhead service to underground as part of a remodeling or upgrading project. 


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