PG&E cuts fees for gunshot tracking

Installation of new devices to detect the sounds of gunshots in San Francisco will move forward after the utility company PG&E agreed Friday to drastically lower its fees, according to a spokeswoman.

PG&E, in a pact with the city and county of San Francisco, will immediately begin placing the gunshot-tracking devices on 35 of its telephone and power poles in the city, county Supervisor David Campos spokeswoman Carolyn Goossen said.

The sound-sensitive mechanisms are affixed to light poles, government buildings and schools to alert police about shootings within 40 feet of where the shots were fired, allowing officers to respond quickly, according to Goossen.

The San Francisco Police Department began using gunshot-tracking technology in 2008 in areas of the city with the highest levels of gun violence, city officials said.

Then last year, the department started a project to expand locations of the technology to include PG&E telephone and power poles, but the effort stalled when PG&E charged installation fees that were higher than anticipated, Goossen said.

On Friday, PG&E agreed to reduce its installation fee from $1,500 per pole to between $200 and $400 and to begin putting the devices in right away, she said.