RECORD ONLINE: WOULD BURIED LINES HELP PREVENT POWER OUTAGES?

 


    By Ken Hall

    State Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, plans to hold hearings in a few weeks to find out why power companies struggled to keep up with the damage from Hurricane Irene. Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston, might do the same.


    They are likely to hear what they have heard before when other natural disasters brought down power lines and left thousands in the dark.


    Companies will say they tried to be prepared, but that the scope of the damage made it hard to restore power much faster than they did. With snow and ice making roads impassable in winter storms and with flooding and downed trees wiping out bridges and blocking roads this time, crews struggle just to reach the trouble spots. Utilities will also remind legislators how costly these repairs can be.


    Before they start on that familiar round of questions and answers, here’s another topic they should explore, one that has more of a chance to make a real difference in the future: Why don’t they bury more utility lines instead of putting them back on the poles, only to be brought down by the next storm?


    I didn’t think of that by myself; a friend who knows a lot about the industry suggested that if power companies would bury the lines, it could solve many problems, starting with the vulnerability that all these lines display every time high wind, heavy snow or something else brings down a tree.


    The squirrels who occasionally leap to their death and bring down a neighborhood circuit would no longer pose such a danger. Cars that wrap themselves around poles would no longer interrupt power and a roadside stripped of all those obstacles would be safer for drivers as well. (READ MORE)

    Publication date: 
    Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 00:00