The lush landscape and scenery of Hilton Head Island attract visitors and residents from across the nation each year. Since 2004, Palmetto Electric Cooperative has been doing its part to preserve the natural beauty that makes Hilton Head Island special by removing overhead distribution power lines and replacing them with underground equipment. On Tuesday, Aug. 31, Palmetto Electric celebrated a monumental accomplishment as the final overhead pole on Hilton Head Island, originally installed on Jonesville Road in 1982, was removed.
I sincerely appreciate the Town of Hilton Head’s commitment to partnering with us to make this conversion a reality. With a final cost of $34.77 million, the project was funded mostly by franchise fees collected by the Town of Hilton Head and would not have been possible without their support. A grand total of 3,574 poles and 1,238 overhead transformers have been removed, and 115 miles of overhead distribution lines have been converted to underground. Not only does this improve the visual appearance of the Island,it also makes our system more resilient to storms, strong winds, and outages.
Relocating the distribution lines underground greatly improves the reliability of our system, however, it is important to remember outages can still occur from other disturbances such as flooded transformers, cut underground power lines, and damage to Santee Cooper’s overhead transmission lines. You can do your part to protect yourself and prevent outages by calling 811 before digging to properly locate utility lines. This underground conversion has been a tremendous project that I am proud to see to completion.
I want to thank our linemen and crews who have worked diligently over the last several years to make this a reality. The next time you are driving on Hilton Head Island, I encourage you to look around and appreciate the clear, unobstructed view.