After last month's awful storm, many of us wonder why the power lines are above ground. When you lose power for 5 days like we did, and you multiply that by the population of Mercer Island, that's a lot of lost productivity that could have been avoided if the lines hadn't blown down.
Here's a thorough report by the Edison Electric Institute that answers the question:
- Underground lines cost 10 times as much and, even when you take into account the lost productivity when there's a power failure, the benefits only cover 38% of the costs.
- It may be worthwhile for aesthetic reasons, and who knows, maybe Mercer Island property values would go up, but our power rates would go up a lot as well: perhaps 80 to 125 percent.
I say forget it.
(thanks to Chuck for the pointer)