Electric Tariff Rules 15 and 16 - Electric Distribution Line Extensions and Service Line Extensions


Rule 15

Rule 15 is the tariff that governs the investor-owned electric utilities distribution line extensions, which are extensions of the existing distribution lines from the nearest permanent and available distribution facilities to commercial areas/neighborhoods. Rule 15 specifically requires new distribution line extensions to be built underground.

According to Rule 15 Section A.3.a, underground distribution line extensions are required for all new:

(1) Residential Subdivisions (except as provided for in Section H),

(2) Residential Developments,

(3) Commercial Developments,

(4) Industrial Developments, and

(5) Locations that are in proximity to and visible from designated Scenic Areas.

For more information, see the Rule 15 Tariffs for PG&E, SCE and SDG&E.


Rule 16

Rule 16 is the electric utility tariff that outlines the rules and requirements for service line extensions, which are lines that connects the distribution lines to the customers’ electric meters. Service line extension are necessary to provide utility service when new residential/commercial/industrial facilities are constructed. Like Rule 15, Rule 16 also has an underground requirement for new customer facilities. According to Rule 16.C.3.a, underground service extensions:

(1) shall be installed where required to comply with applicable tariff schedules, laws, ordinances, or similar requirements of governmental authorities having jurisdiction, and

(2) may be necessary as determined by the utility where [the] Applicant's load requires a separate transformer installation of 75 kilovolt amperes (kVa) or greater

For more information, see the Rule 16 Tariffs for PG&E, SCE and SDG&E.


Exceptions to Rules 15 and 16

Rule 15.H.1 details the types of locations in which the utility may construct overhead electric distribution extensions. According to Rule 15.H.1, “overhead extensions may be constructed in residential subdivisions or developments only where either a. or b. below are found to exist:

a. The lots within the residential subdivision or development existed as legally described parcels prior to May 5, 1970, and significant overhead lines exist within the subdivision or development.

b. The minimum parcel size within the new residential subdivision or real estate development, identifiable by a map filed with the local government authority, is three (3) acres and [the] Applicant for the distribution line extension shows that all of the following conditions exist:

1) Local ordinances do not require underground construction.

2) Local ordinances or land use policies do not permit further division of the parcels involved such that parcel sizes less than three (3) acres could be formed.

3) Local ordinances or deed restrictions do not allow more than one single-family dwelling or accommodation on a parcel of less than three (3) acres, or any portion of a parcel of less than three (3) acres.

4) Exceptional circumstances do not exist which, in the utility’s opinion, warrant the installation of underground distribution facilities.  Whenever the utility invokes this provision, the circumstances shall be described promptly in a letter to the Commission, with a copy to Applicant for the distribution line extension.

5) The utility does not elect to install the distribution line extension underground for its operating convenience.  Whenever the utility elects to install the extension underground for its operating convenience, the extra cost compared with overhead shall be borne by the utility.

Rule 16.C.4 explains that new overhead service extensions may be permitted only in instances where Rule 16.C.3.a does not apply.



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