11/09/2012 07:44 pm ET

Treasure Island Power Outages Plague Residents

Residents of Treasure Island are getting increasingly fed up with the regular power outages that have plagued the area for years.

A report by the San Francisco Chronicle notes that the city's Public Utilities Commission has had difficulty maintaining the island's deteriorating power grid, originally installed and maintained by the U.S. Navy. The wear and tear brought by the salt-filled ocean air and the flocks of seagulls exacerbates the problem.

"It's gotten so bad that people are actually yelling about it," local community organizer Mark Conors told the Chronicle. "Before this year, you would live through it and then forget about it...Now, it is absolutely horrible. If the system keeps breaking down, what happens when it breaks down and doesn't come back up?"

Treasure Island is technically owned by the U.S. Navy, but it's in the process of being transferred to San Francisco's jurisdiction.

Bay City News reports:

"This is their property. They own the electrical infrastructure," said Charles Sheehan, communications manager for the SFPUC. Sheehan said some parts of the power system on Treasure Island date back to the 1940s and other parts were renovated in the 1960s and 1970s.

"Regardless of where you are there, the electrical infrastructure there is old," he said, adding that some of the utility wires on Treasure Island are 25 to 40 years old and aren't built to last much longer than that.

In 2010, the city approved an ambitious $1.5 billion plan to transform the island through the addition of 8,000 residential units, 240,000 square feet of commercial and office space and a brand new transportation infrastructure.

Part of this plan will include a nearly $12 million upgrade to the island's power infrastructure in the form of two underground cables running underneath the San Francisco Bay. Officials hope these upgrades will improve power service on the island.

The development process has stretched on for years. The San Francisco Examiner's Melissa Griffin explains why:

Negotiating the transfer agreement with the Navy took years because the parties have vastly different opinions as to the value of the land. The process for planning what should go on the island took nine years. And getting an environmental impact report took four years and is tied up in litigation. Then there is the matter of the cleanup process, which is taking far longer than anticipated.