Thursday, January 04, 2007

Why don't they bury our power lines?

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)

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