Jun 18, 2023

Duke Energy power pole in St. Petersburg has neighbors upset

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Kristina Deterding is a new homeowner in St. Petersburg, Florida. She bought her house in the North Kenwood neighborhood less than a year ago and said she fell in love with the neighborhood.

Now, nine months after moving in, Deterding is facing the reality of a massive steel pole in her front yard.

"It’s definitely going to bring down house values and who wants that in their front yard," she said.

Deterding said she was never made aware by Duke Energy or the previous homeowner about the new project, and it wasn't until crews were cutting down trees that she realized what was happening.

"I went and talked to them and that’s when I found out hey, we’re putting a pole in your yard," she said.

Deterding said she has reached out to an attorney and been in touch with Duke Energy about her resistance to this project.

Her next-door neighbor, Robert Packett, has lived in his house for several years. He said he didn't realize Duke Energy's latest project would result in a huge steel pole steps away from his front door.

Duke Energy calls the project the Kenwood Transmission Line Upgrade. Spokesperson Ana Gibbs said it's all about improving the reliability and resiliency of the power grid in an area rapidly growing in population.

The project site says "upgrade existing wood poles with single-pole steel poles."

"Basically trying to keep the lights on for our customers," Gibbs said.

Deterding questioned why Duke Energy can't put the lines underground, but Gibbs said they can't always do that in older neighborhoods when underground lines would conflict with other underground utilities. It's also much more expensive to build underground and that cost would get passed on to customers.

"We are always balancing what we call aesthetics with the ability to keep the power on for our customers," Gibbs said.

Some North Kenwood neighbors say there must be a better way to enhance reliability without replacing trees with metal cylinders.