Downtown Santa Barbara Reliability Project


The Downtown Santa Barbara Reliability Project will enhance the availability of reliable electric service to meet our customers’ needs in the downtown Santa Barbara area. This multimillion-dollar infrastructure improvement project will result in a safer and more efficient, resilient, and reliable power grid while reducing environmental impacts.

Once the project is completed, it is expected that these efforts will decrease the frequency and duration of power outages in downtown. SCE aims to meet the needs and expectations of our customers, leading to a clean and sustainable future for all Southern Californians.

During the project, some customers may experience maintenance outages. SCE will communicate with affected customers in advance so they can make appropriate arrangements.

Project Details

The work involves several separate projects on different circuits in the downtown area to provide safe and reliable service to our customers in the city of Santa Barbara. These projects include underground re-cabling, installing new vaults and switches, and upgrades at multiple substations.

Project Updates

Starting in January 2024, we will be working in the Downtown Santa Barbara area. The work will take place from 7am to 5:30pm, Monday thru Friday, excluding City observed holidays. There may be traffic impacts and sidewalk closures. We appreciate your patience during this time.

More Information

  • Install new underground vault structures and related equipment
  • Upgrade transformers
  • Upgrade switches, cable, and associated underground equipment
  • Upgrade or replace existing structures based on extensive inspection for integrity and reliability design
  • Install additional circuit automation and fault indicators
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Construction is expected to begin January 22, 2024 . SCE will continue to work with the city of Santa Barbara throughout the duration of the project to obtain all necessary permits and easements. Full implementation of all phases of work is anticipated to be fully completed in 2026,  depending on a number of variables that may cause schedule changes or delays and could impact the duration of the project. SCE will make every effort to keep the project on schedule and prevent delays.

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  • Replace electrical cable for circuits in the downtown area, improving reliability and operability
  • Bring greater overall power reliability to downtown Santa Barbara
  • Increase automation on the SCE electric system to improve system restoration times
  • Modernize the grid
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As we make electrical improvements in downtown Santa Barbara, you will see SCE workers and contractors in your area making these enhancements. During the project, some customers may experience temporary maintenance outages and traffic disruptions. We apologize for any temporary inconvenience this may cause. SCE will make every effort to communicate with affected customers in advance so they can make appropriate arrangements. Due to the extensive nature of the project, scheduling changes may be necessary. SCE will share weekly updates on this page as well at

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During construction of the project, you may encounter SCE crews or contractors performing work that impacts public streets, sidewalks, trails or other public right-of-way areas. SCE implements a number of safety measures to ensure that members of the public as well as SCE crews remain safe during project activities.

Whenever SCE crews or contractors are performing work that temporarily impacts public traffic areas – either for pedestrians or vehicles – SCE implements various measures to alert the public of construction activities and provide directions they can follow to avoid potentially harmful work areas and remain safe. These activities include SCE and its contractors coordinating with the appropriate jurisdictions to ensure proper safety requirements are met. Whether along streets or near public walkways and trails, SCE implements measures such as the placement of temporary fences that restrict public access to potentially hazardous work areas, posting public warning signs along impacted areas, positioning crew safety members to help guide commuters and pedestrians, conducting daily construction crew safety meetings and more.

Here are some general tips you can follow to help you stay safe as either a pedestrian or driver while sharing the public right-of-way with construction crews.

Safety tips when you are the driver:

  • Pay attention to construction signs, hazard cones and guidance from construction crew safety members.
  • Practice defensive driving habits by being on your guard and anticipating other drivers’ moves.
  • Learn to look left, right and left again before you turn.
  • Do not follow vehicles too closely near construction areas in case of sudden stops.
  • Check your mirror every few seconds.
  • Make sure you are seen by other drivers, pedestrians and project crew members in your area.
  • Reduce your driving speed near construction areas.

Safety tips when you are the pedestrian:

  • Pay attention to construction signs, hazard cones and trail closure signs.
  • Observe fencing that restricts access to construction areas.
  • Keep your head up. Do not text or browse e-mail when approaching potentially hazardous areas.
  • Keep an ear open. Walking or running with headphones can isolate pedestrians from their surroundings. If you must walk or run with music, leave one ear open.
  • If sidewalks are not available, walk facing traffic and cross at corners or intersections, whenever possible. Also, it is extremely important to follow directional signs in construction areas.
  • Stand clear of parked vehicles or other obstacles before crossing walkways or streets near construction areas so others can see you.

Safety is a top priority for SCE – and you can help. For other general safety tips and information, visit

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If you have questions about this project or related construction activities, please use our email for responses within 2 hours, Monday - Friday.  

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