>>>THE Switch was Thrown!  


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The Big Bear Boulevard

Over-head to Under-Ground Conversion Project


The afternoon of July 18, 2017 passers-by on Big Bear Boulevard paused as others joined public officials and Bear Valley Electric Service (BVES) employees at the site of the large power transformer, located on the west-side of Big Bear Boulevard between CVS Pharmacy and Union Bank. BVES Director Paul Marconi BVES welcomed several special guests including: Mayor Pro-Tem Rick Herrick, City Councilman David Caretto, City Manager Jeff Mathieu, guests, local Press and Bear Valley Electric Service employees. City Engineer David Lawrence, was recognized for his contribution with Big Bear Boulevard Project. Recently, Lawrence resigned with the City of Big Bear Lake and is now the General Manager of Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency.    

Bear Valley Electric Service Director Paul Marconi eagerly explained the reason for the Switch Throwing Event, which symbolically represents energizing the Big Bear Boulevard Overhead to Underground Electrical Distribution System Conversion. 

Marconi jokingly commented ‘The Switch Throw was analogous to a ribbon-cutting ceremony’  But before I throw the switch, which by the way I did train, so hopefully all of the lights that are supposed to stay ON, do so! He went on to give a short version of ‘The Project’ and recognized key players and organizations that made it all possible.

The potential Big Bear Boulevard Project dates back to at least the 1980’s, when the vision was first pursued by establishing an Underground District.  Further progress toward this effort was made in the early 1990’s during the Big Bear Boulevard expansion project.  But it would take a few more years to get the right critical mass of compelling requirements, stakeholder consensus, regulatory approval plus funding. 




Notice the missing power poles in the AFTER photo


The Project converted the overhead electrical distribution system along Big Bear Boulevard from Paine Court to just beyond Standfield Cutoff – a little more than approximately three miles. 

The purpose of the project is to improve public safety and protect the reliability of our local power service and beautify the main thoroughfare. 




LEFT - Workers hurry to put on the finishing touches

RIGHT – Throwing the Switch! Councilman Caretto and Mayor Pro-tem Herrick




Janet Stevens-Moore and Dave Caretto look on as Paul Marconi explains the cable that will carry the

underground electricity to residences and businesses in Big Bear Valley.


The project results:  

Removed the overhead system from 125 poles and 40 overhead transformers

Installed 37,705 feet of 1000 EPR 15 KV Cable know as “million”

Installed 11,660 feet of 750 EPR 15 KV Cable

Over 25 easements were executed

Over 12,300 hours of BVES Lineman hours and countless hours by other numerous key players


Particularly Pleased -

Zero injuries

Zero traffic accidents

Zero unintentional outages




LEFT - BVES STAFF were witnesses to the historic event  

RIGHT - Janet Stevens-Moore of Bruin Trojan Realtors, Inc,

with City Manager Jeff Mathieu and David Caretto


The Director especially recognized and expressed BVES’ sincere appreciation to many stakeholders involved.  City of Big Bear Lake were true partners in this effort and in particular David Lawrence and Andrew Simmons. CALTRANS was a key partner. 

Dedicated Local contractors:

Power Engineers that designed half of the project

PAR Electrical Contractors who designed the other half – Brendan Haynes

Petrelli Electric led the construction work from Paine Court to Pine Knot Avenue – Sal Petrelli – Bill Murray

Bear Valley Paving who did all of the construction work – JP Montero

Ludecke’s Electric Service who did all of the cut-overs – Bob and Steve Ludecke

S & C Electric Company who supplied the major electrical equipment – all of it state of the art – Pete Roth – Thank you! 


Paul Marconi expressed a ‘Thanks!’ the local media – KBHR,  Big Bear Grizzly and Big Bear Lake Newsroomfor  their continued support, interest and willingness to help BVES, communicate with the public.  “They really went out of their way to assist us in getting key messages out such as project status reports and those painful road closures!”   

The Bear Valley Electric Service Staff was an all-hands-on-deck project from planning to completion.  Special recognition went to:  




A joined Hand-shake with the principals that participated in the Success!

LEFT - Councilman Caretto, BVES Director Marconi, City Manager Mathieu and Mayor Pro-tem Herrick

RIGHT - BVES Director Marconi, Bear Valley Paving CEO J.P. Montero and City Manager Mathieu


Ngyen Quan from BVES’ Corporate office – who pushed the rope through the regulatory process.  Eric Cardella, designed, planned and coordinated all aspects of executing the project.  David Burks coordinated all of the line-work. Bob, the buyer Bradford worked diligently meet to all the need requests for the job. Daniel De Clercq coordinated all of our public outreach – Note those signs designed and posted on Big Bear Boulevard!

The Engineering Group – The major plans, changes, work orders, permits, easements, etc, etc.  

And the Linemen – WOW! 

The Accounting Group documented and processed the contracts, purchase orders, invoices, material sheet, time-sheets…the paperwork seemed to never end.  Bear Valley Electric Service (BVES) thank our customers, residents and businesses, and our visitors who were so patient and willing to work with us in getting this project done!

By E T Russell