About Us

The Firm

Capitol Utility Specialists (CUS) focuses on providing the highest level of service, and is extremely sensitive to meeting client needs in terms of time, budget, and scope. We specialize in the full spectrum of dry utility services including utility planning, electric system design, gas system design, joint trench composite preparation, contract and fee analysis, and full project management -- from initial applications through completion of construction. The owner/president has over 32 years experience in the utility industry. Founded in 1993, CUS serves a broad spectrum of clients including nationally known commercial and retail developers, Fortune 500 homebuilders, government agencies and local land developers.

                                                                                                                               Electric Manhole                                                                                                                                                           Northstar at Tahoe           

Company Philosophy

Capitol Utility Specialists believes it's to the client's advantage to employ an objective, independent consultant to safeguard his interests -- be it negotiating with utility companies on fees and charges, determining the best location for a new substation or utility cabinet, designing new systems or assuring that the client is receiving quality but competitive, bottom dollar bids from its joint trench contractors. Not having an independent advocate in your corner can result in higher utility fees, poorly placed infrastructure and/or unnecessary equipment installed at the developer's expense. We have saved our clients millions of dollars over the years by searching out unnecessary or misinterpreted fees and construction costs -- proof positive of the value results we achieve.                                                                                           Primary Flex Point                                                                                                                                                         Valley View, Blackstone

Local Knowledge/Relationships

CUS knows the local utility industry. The Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys are our home base. We know the key utility people in the region and work hard to maintain excellent relationships. We understand the rules and regulations that govern utility practices in the area and have contacts at all levels in the organizations that provide utility services. Should you choose us to represent you, we will bring all of our knowledge, experience, resources and utility expertise to your project.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           SMUD Facilities                                                                                                                                                          Empire Ranch

Utility System Design

For larger projects, CUS typically prepares its own demand studies for electric, natural gas and telephone. Without this independent check, developers are at an immediate disadvantage in dealing with the utility's proposed designs. How else will one know the size and number of substation banks required, the proper size of the gas and electric feeder mains, or even how many electric feeder mains to expect? Simply put, the only way to know if the utility's proposed designs are sufficient (or oversized) is to create an independent analysis of the project. Doing so places CUS and its client on a level playing field with the utility, and provides the credibility and resources to, when necessary, challenge the utility's designs.
                                                                                                                        Camouflaged Switches & Transformers
                                                                                                                        Northstar at Tahoe

Planning Expertise

CUS currently provides dry utility consulting services to a number of large master planned projects -- both commercial and residential. Many are still in the entitlement and planning phases, where we provide valuable utility insights and guidance. In most cases CUS is able to facilitate design improvements that benefit the client. Examples include relocating telephone exchange boundaries, changing the electric voltage class for an entire service area (from 12kV to 21kV), minimizing utility extension costs, introducing competition for telecommunications services, locating, relocating and eliminating substations and transmission facilities -- design improvements that have resulted in millions of dollars in savings and improved aesthetics for our clients.                                                                                                                                        6" Poly Gas Pipe                                                                                                                                                          Fiddyment Farms

Utility Contracts, Charges and Fees

A major part of our expertise is watchdog scrutiny of utility charges and credits, made possible by our comprehensive working knowledge of utility rates, rules and interpretations. Few in the industry fully understand the many and complex utility rules, tariffs, rates, ordinances, fees, franchise agreements, easement requirements and contracts that determine where the utility's cost responsibilities end and the developer's begin. We are fortunate in that our principal is a former senior tariff expert with PG&E. It was his job to train the utility representatives, the engineers and their supervisors on contracts, costs, billings and tariff issues in large land development projects. Who better to represent you on these same issues?                                   
                                                                                                                               PG&E 60kV Pole                                                                                                                                                          Silva Valley Interchange                          
When necessary, CUS employs sophisticated financial tools (i.e., preparation of absorption schedules and internal rate of return calculations) to determine the best course of action when offered various utility payment options (refundable option vs. nonrefundable discount option, etc). We back our recommendations with sound financial analysis, and provide a summary of the refunds and/or reimbursements due on a utility contract.

Aesthetic Considerations

Fusing cubicles, three way switches, telephone cabinets, transformers and node cabinets (collectively “utility pedestals or peds”) are not the entry monuments developers envision for their projects. But that's exactly what's commonly seen. Utility infrastructure is a necessary component in modern developments, but that doesn't mean it should dominate the landscape.

CUS prides itself on a proactive approach to strategically placing transformers, switches and other utility facilities near intersections and project entrances. In the final analysis, you want a project you can be proud of -- and indeed that's also our goal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Mainline Switch                                                                                                                                                           Hyatt, Lake Tahoe