Overhead Power Lines Result in Power Outages

The United States and Canada have witnessed an alarmingly increasing number of power outages this year caused by inclement weather including hurricanes, tornadoes and other high winds. For example, hundreds of thousands of customers have recently been without power in Louisiana and Florida due to Hurricane Isaac (Associated Press). Millions of dollars are spent repairing overhead power lines and other infrastructure damaged by downed power lines, plus there are millions of dollars in lost productivity due to the outages.

Politicians and the general public are asking what can be done to stem this rise in weather-related power outages. Many communities are exploring burying power lines as a solution. Unfortunately, electricity transmission companies which make millions of dollars by charging their customers to repair damaged overhead power lines, are reluctant to bury lines and when asked about the benefits of burying them they grossly inflate the costs of undergrounding in an attempt to convince politicians and the public that it is too expensive.

The fact is, when capital, maintenance and transmission loss costs are combined over the life of a line, underground lines are less expensive than overhead lines (see this link). And, when nearby property devaluation, lost tourism revenues and increased health costs associated with overhead transmission lines are brought into the equation, underground lines are much less expensive than overhead lines.

~ by RETA on September 2, 2012.

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