Sunday, February 16, 2014

After outages, the question is, why not bury power lines?

                                                                                                    Photo by Michael Bryant - Philadelphia Inquirer
For many of us who were without power for days or more during recent storms, the thought arises, why not bury power lines? A fallen tree or branch can't snap a line what isn't dangling overhead, right?

Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Andrew Maykuth (and others below) explored the question and found that, while underground power lines are generally more reliable than overhead wires, they are costly to build, and more expensive and time-consuming to repair when they fail.
"Undergrounding sounds great until you start looking at a million dollars a mile for cable, and trenches through everyone's yard; then, people think differently," said Robert F. Powelson, chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Since Lady Bird Johnson championed underground wires as part of her 1960s beautification campaign, Peco and many utilities have required all-underground service for new residential developments. The cost of buried wires in new developments is included in the cost of the houses.
About 41 percent of Peco's 21,822 miles of wires are underground, spokeswoman Cathy Engel Menendez said.
Converting overhead wires in older neighborhoods runs into problems with regulators, who require the costs to be paid by those who benefit from the conversion and not passed off to other ratepayers.

Read the full story at:
 Bury power lines? Not that simple

Related:
Overhead Or Buried, Power Lines Still Vulnerable 
Electric users ask: Why not put power lines underground?
Why not put power lines underground?
Power outage affects more than just the heat in your home 

What to Do Before, During Power Outage

Little fracking concern in some Pa towns without zoning
Scientists generate more energy out than energy in?
Capitol Hill Calendar: February 12-13, 2014 


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