Capp Street Lights Back On After Weeks in Dark

Photo by Molly Oleson

Photo by Molly Oleson

En Español.

After reporting that malfunctioning street lights had left a stretch of Capp Street between 19th and 24th streets in the dark for weeks, Mission residents may get some relief from months of unreliable lighting.

“It’s been really dark and scary,” said Capp Street resident Gregory Dicum. “We’ve brought it up with the police, with the supervisor’s office, with 311 and Click Fix.”

PG&E reported fixing all but one light, which is on 15th Street, late Thursday night. Joe Molicha, a spokesman for the utility company, said that a construction crew accidentally dug into the underground circuitry that powers street lights on Capp. Similar incidents have occurred several times in this part of the Mission.

Dicum said the recent outage was the longest in several months of temporary blackouts. He added that many of his neighbors on Capp Street had contacted PG&E about the lights in the past few weeks. According to city data, 33 requests regarding the company’s lights on Capp Street were submitted via 311 in the last few weeks.

When PG&E-related complaints are submitted via 311, the city forwards them to the power company. Yet Dicum said that when he reached someone at PG&E a week after putting in a 311 complaint, the customer service representative said they had yet to receive the request. Dicum said he wonders if the reports from 311 are not getting to the right people at PG&E.

“That has been an issue in the past,” Molicha said, adding that the company would look into it.

An aide to Supervisor David Campos said that PG&E told her the reason behind the recent delay in service was that the company was simultaneously dealing with a large-scale structural project in another part of the city. Molicha said, however, that any delay is likely because the company was not aware of the problem.

“We may not be immediately aware when we get a ‘dig in,’ until folks call in,” Molicha said. “I know that there have been issues [on Capp]. We fix [lights], but they go back out.”

Public safety is a primary concern around street light problems, and crime has been informally linked to outages in recent Mission history. A rape that occurred near an unlit intersection at Fair Oaks and 24th streets in 2011 raised concerns among locals about how quickly street lights are fixed. A resident had put in a request about the lights 10 days prior to the incident. Last year PG&E told Mission Local it was not aware of the lighting problem at the time of the assault.

PG&E said it is currently looking at replacing a variety of damaged circuits in San Francisco, including the one that serves Capp Street. The company encourages residents to report street light outages via 311 or on the company’s customer service website.

Correction: A previous version of this story said that at least 23 requests via 311 for Capp Street light fixes were submitted in recent weeks. The story has been changed to reflect the complete number, which is 33, according to city data.

6 Comments

  1. Mister Big

    Seems like the city and PG&E need to do a better job coordinating the flow of information.

    • Bonnhie

      Its so frustrating how seemingly unconcerned or incompetent the City and PG&E are about basic things. At least the lights for the Bay Bridge show are fine…

  2. CRS

    Not that it has anything to do with SF in general and Capp Street in particular, but I once lived in a city that turned off all its streetlights at 10:00PM in order to save money on electricity.
    What surprised everyone was the sharp drop in crime.

  3. Lauren

    Those Capp lights haven’t worked well for YEARS, not months. Until late last year I lived at 26th & Capp and called 311 and PG&E alternately once a month for 2 years. To 311’s credit, they said that they knew there was a problem, had talked to PG&E and had a work order number they gave me to nag PG&E about. That was in 2011. Glad it’s finally getting better.

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