MGE Electric Upgrade Projects
Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) is upgrading the electric system in several Madison-area neighborhoods to enhance service reliability and to provide a more efficient delivery of electricity.
This work involves replacing aging facilities and installing new underground electric lines, as well as replacing or removing existing overhead power lines.
Why is this work needed?
Storms and wind can cause trees to fall or branches to bend or break into overhead electrical wires. Even small limbs that grow into and touch a high-voltage electric line can cause a short circuit, electrical outage or fire. Installing new underground high-voltage electric lines enhances reliability and reduces the need for tree trimming.
These projects also include the installation of enhanced electric grid monitoring and control technology to help reduce the duration of storm-related outages when they do occur.
How do these projects impact me?
Frequently Asked Questions
- To reduce the impact to private properties, MGE will coordinate with the municipality to use right-of-way areas where practical to access the lines and equipment being upgraded.
- When overhead lines are located on private properties, we may request easements from some property owners. MGE contacts those property owners individually.
- Not all properties require an easement.
- Learn more about utility easements.
Pole Line Removal
- MGE’s overhead pole lines consist of MGE electric wires and equipment (1-5 in the diagram). We also are obligated to allow public communications utilities to jointly attach to MGE poles (6 and 7).
- A pole cannot be removed until all the facilities on it are also removed, including communications utilities and overhead service lines to homes.
- MGE works with communications utilities during electric upgrade projects to provide routes for underground conduit, but we cannot guarantee that they will bury underground facilities and remove their overhead lines. Communications and overhead service lines to homes may remain.
Overhead Service Lines
These projects do not include the conversion of overhead electric wires to individual meters on customers’ homes. If you’d like to bury your electric service lines to your home, learn about the process and estimated costs.
- Electric outages occur throughout an electric upgrade project, but they are expected to be minimal.
- We will communicate planned outages in advance.
- Not all properties require tree pruning, but it may be required in some areas to create safe clearances for the new wires and equipment.
- An ISA Certified Arborist from MGE will contact property owners before any work is performed.
- As a National Arbor Day Tree Line USA Utility, MGE appreciates our community’s urban forests. This project will enhance service reliability and reduce the need for future tree trimming. Learn about MGE's tree pruning process.
Frequently Asked Questions
MGE will use a directional drilling machine wherever possible. This method limits the amount of surface disturbance. A bore hole is made where the drill enters the ground, and another hole is made where the drill exits. Bore holes also will be made along the drill path to ensure that the drill passes over or under other existing buried utilities.
MGE employs best management practices that dictate boring hole locations and conduit depth. MGE’s ISA Certified Arborists will consult property owners on all tree-related impacts.
A goal of this project is to underground as much of the overhead electric system as possible in heavily wooded areas. In locations where MGE determines it is not feasible to underground the system due to missing property rights or ground conditions, overhead pole lines may need to be rebuilt. Tree pruning may be required in some areas to accommodate safe clearances for the new wire and taller poles. If this is required, one of MGE’s ISA Certified Arborists will contact you before any work is done on your trees. The arborists will ensure all tree pruning follows International Arboriculture pruning standards. Learn about MGE’s tree-pruning process.
In most cases, the work performed by MGE and our digging contractors will cause some noise and ground disturbance for a period of days while work is performed. We aim to limit disturbance as much as possible, and we will restore the affected areas to their preexisting state.
Potentially. These projects aim to enhance service reliability, decrease tree-trimming needs and improve safety. Pole lines may be removed, but in some cases, the poles may remain in place to maintain overhead services to homes and for communications utilities that serve the area.
Our overhead pole lines consist of MGE electric wires and equipment. We also are obligated to allow third-party, public communications utilities to jointly attach to MGE poles.
A pole cannot be removed until all the facilities on it also are removed, including communications utilities’ equipment and overhead service lines to homes. MGE works with these companies to provide underground routes, but we cannot guarantee that they will bury their facilities and remove their overhead lines.
Removal of poles is dependent on:
- The communications utilities electing to remove their overhead lines.
- The removal of overhead service lines to homes. Learn more about burying the electric service line to your home.
Yes, the overhead service to your meter will remain unless you decide to convert your service from overhead to underground. This may require a service upgrade, including a new meter pedestal outside your home. Learn about the process and estimated costs.
Each customer likely will experience a short outage. The timing of this outage will be communicated to each customer in advance. MGE’s electric upgrade projects will help prevent long-term outages when issues arise in the future.