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posted by martyb on Thursday September 14, @12:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the better-ask-Betteridge dept.

It is the height of a highly destructive hurricane season in the United States. The devastation of Harvey in Texas and Louisiana caused nearly 300,000 customers to lose electricity service, and Hurricane Irma has cut service to millions of people. Soon, winter storms will bring wind and snow to much of the country.

Anxious people everywhere worry about the impact these storms might have on their safety, comfort and convenience. Will they disrupt my commute to work? My children's ride to school? My electricity service?

When it comes to electricity, people turn their attention to the power lines overhead and wonder if their electricity service might be more secure if those lines were buried underground. But having studied this question for utilities and regulators, I can say the answer is not that straightforward. Burying power lines, also called undergrounding, is expensive, requires the involvement of many stakeholders and might not solve the problem at all.

Would burying power lines render them more weather-proof?

Read the full article on The Conversation.


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  • (Score: 1, Disagree) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday September 14, @12:40AM (49 children)

    It's a noob-assed question. Yes, it can make them slightly more weatherproof. It also makes them take a whopping hell of a lot longer to repair when they do have issues. It's not a viable solution.

    --
    Save Ferris!
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @01:15AM (30 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @01:15AM (#567558)

      It's a noob-assed question.

      And yours is a noob-assed answer.
      E.g. for a starter, pray tell, how much that "whopping hell of a lot longer" actually is, how frequent they actually need repairs and at what cost? Then compare the repairing cost of utility and the incurred cost of the consumers.

      Hint: the TFA show they did model such things. You may dispute their assumption and modelling if you like, but I doubt you have the right to dismiss their study with the "It so obvious it doesn't worth discussing" handwave.

      • (Score: 2) by hopp on Thursday September 14, @05:18AM (27 children)

        by hopp (2833) on Thursday September 14, @05:18AM (#567649)

        Really the problem is the cost and right of way. The utility owns it's own above ground poles by me. For burial the copper is 3x as thick (because not as much cooling as non buried) and they have to get right of way on a bunch of places they already have poles.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @05:38AM (25 children)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @05:38AM (#567657)

          Really the problem is the ... right of way

          Eminent domain?

          (yeah, I know. I'm sorta teasing the "violently imposed monopoly" guy in here).

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tomtomtom on Thursday September 14, @09:03AM (24 children)

            by tomtomtom (340) on Thursday September 14, @09:03AM (#567703)

            The labour and equipment cost of digging the trenches is the major hurdle - it's very significantly higher than the cost of putting up poles (perhaps 6-10x higher). Then you have the logistical issues of finding enough reliable contractors to dig those trenches in the first place. It's probably a 15-year-plus project to get it all done. The Nordic countries have started down this route after some severe storms a few year back led to loss of power for a few weeks during winter - in countries where consumers rely on electricity for heat. It does demonstrably make recovering from severe storms significantly quicker though (substations, generators and other parts of the infrastructure can still be affected). The question is, who will pay for it? It will make a meaningful difference to people's bills, often quite a while before they themselves see any benefit. It will take a lot of political will to make this happen.

            • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday September 14, @10:40AM (20 children)

              Try 10-100 times. Two poles that handle a hundred yard span can be set, spliced in, and powered up in a morning fairly easily. This is not remotely the case with any reliable and serviceable form of underground cabling.

              The really fun bit here is all the morons with their mega-urban-colored glasses on. News flash, dipshits, most of the world lies outside of million plus population cities. Any utility company that was foolish enough to spend the billions necessary to put in serviceable, underground cabling for even a small state with several large cities would bankrupt itself, if it could even find anyone willing to make a loan that insanely doomed to failure.

              --
              Save Ferris!
              • (Score: 3, Touché) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @11:05AM (19 children)

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @11:05AM (#567731)

                Try 10-100 times.

                You joking, right? It is called trench digger [google.com]. They use them even in India [youtube.com]. I can't believe it's an unknown tech is US.

                Besides, it's more a matter of zone development - you put the cables under even before developing the roads in a new development area. This happens for at least 15 years (if not for longer) here in Australia - the only areas where you see aerial cables are on the steep hill sides, where the stability of the terrain is hard to guarantee with costs within reason.

                • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday September 14, @12:34PM (18 children)

                  by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @12:34PM (#567756)

                  Its not the physical labor, its the time and delay of onecall to make sure you don't hit the gas line, going across the gas line anyway so you need to hand dig that portion, the ground is frozen a couple months of the year here so you have fascinating fun with temps, you can try to scare the hell out of landowners about digging stuff up all you want but you'll still have the time and labor cost of some idiot putting their shed or flower bed or buried pet across the right of way not to mention having to move movable things (Dude parts his RV there when he's not using it... where park it for a couple days while you're digging?)

                  This is before we get started with the difference in operations policy between "send two dudes with trunk out to string aerial BAU" vs "OMFG set up up a construction dept project involving 15 guys and it aint happening until next season given the backlog"

                  I worked at a couple utilities mostly in communication field and outsiders always confuse the heck out of the labor involved in personally wielding a shovel as a private citizen on their own property vs the labor required to accomplish a megacorporation-level project. Yes you can build a dog house at home by yourself in an afternoon, that does not mean a NYC skyscraper is just that but a little bigger.

                  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @12:52PM (17 children)

                    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @12:52PM (#567760)

                    Its not the physical labor, its the time and delay of onecall to make sure you don't hit the gas line, going across the gas line anyway so you need to hand dig that portion, the ground is frozen a couple months of the year here so you have fascinating fun with temps, you can try to scare the hell out of landowners about digging stuff up all you want but you'll still have the time and labor cost of some idiot putting their shed or flower bed or buried pet across the right of way not to mention having to move movable things (Dude parts his RV there when he's not using it... where park it for a couple days while you're digging?)

                    Ok, I see now. That's the difference between cheap and good when it comes to urban planning.

                    onecall to make sure you don't hit the gas line,

                    What's the onecall? (downunder, there's something called Dial before you dig [1100.com.au] - is it something like that?)

                    • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Thursday September 14, @01:59PM (16 children)

                      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @01:59PM (#567799)

                      I'd say its more like a difference of scale. One dude working alone can kinda wing it, a long term multi site eternal effort needs organization. Aerial work (fiber, where I worked) scales to "two dudes with truck" (well, fiber termination van, but whatever), but burial just covers too many human labor specializations to not need a zillion people.

                      Let me give you an example. One interesting outage at work that I heard about but had nothing to do with personally, involved a heavy construction company proudly purchasing a brand new crane and driving it into their staging lot, being the biggest crane they ever owned or leased, it ripped out all our fiber, thankfully not severing any. Two dudes with fiber van went out, temp re-hung it, came out 3rd shift and spliced in replacement fiber (as the truck snag had not severed, but had F-ed up the fiber jacket). Its like two guys worth of specialized knowledge. You need lineman style height training from OSHA and stuff, some training about not licking the power lines while you're up on the pole, and considerable fiber termination and splicing training but not too ridiculous to hire people who can "do it all" for aerial.

                      Now another example is my back yard where the power company dug up the 75 yr old lines to replace then and dropped in more capacity and fiber for resale, new xformers, basically upgrade the service of the whole subdivision, etc. So first the planner and CAD guy and surveyor come out in the winter to let me know my garage isn't in the way but my neighbors was illegally-ish built over the right of way so they'll have to reroute a bit to be nice guys rather than bulldozing his garage, but it doesn't affect me directly although they'll be more work in my yard than normally, the point is whats on the map never matches whats on the ground and the plan never survives contact with reality. The onecall guys come out and cover my yard in spray paint up to 100 feet away from the future trench, dude if you hit the sewer on the other side of the property your trench driver must be drunk, but whatever. Then the landscaper guys came by and ripped down both my fences (as in each side of the yard) and put up temp construction fences and this weird soil erosion cloth stuff. Then the heavy equipment comes thru and does all the trenching and removal and burial in like one day. There's guys driving a truck to add or remove excess dirt as necessary and guys driving a giant trencher and guys for power and fiber and the same splicing van you'd expect, the point is there's like ten differently skilled dudes not just two aerial rated linemen. Don't forget that somehow service to my house was never significantly interrupted (like more than a minute or two) as they did some weirdness with temp lines, so there's crews working on that. Then the landscaping guys come thru and tidy up and re-apply grass seed and water every day for a week all the way across our suburban block. Then the power co purchased our willful cooperation in this whole BS by replacing everyone's fences with new fences, then they removed the temp construction fences. Our new fence looks pretty nice, I like it. Finally the project management team came by one last time to inspect everyones work, remind us we got "free" new fence out of this, and asked us to sign off on a general release, which I happily signed. In the business world there just aren't enough "jack of all trades" types to do buried work with just two dudes with a van, no matter how much in theory two highly motivated dudes could have done that project extremely slowly over the course of a couple weeks. Instead multiple huge teams of numerous specialists took mere hours per individual yard.

                      In the USA, having worked at multiple regional telecom companies, I can unfortunately assure you that every state has some kind of semi-govt monopoly system set up to mark underground cables before digging mostly for free. Mostly as in we got to pay a fee and provide our CAD maps for the privilege of being protected. It costs an excavator operator nothing to have the utilities marked, but the utilities pay a ridiculous amount of money annually, so everyone kinda pays. Like $1/mile/year in some states. We thought our fiber bill was bad, imagine what a gas or water util must pay per year. Hope there's a discount or something...

                      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @02:29PM (15 children)

                        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:29PM (#567808)

                        I'd say its more like a difference of scale. One dude working alone can kinda wing it, a long term multi site eternal effort needs organization. Aerial work (fiber, where I worked) scales to "two dudes with truck" (well, fiber termination van, but whatever), but burial just covers too many human labor specializations to not need a zillion people.

                        Oh, come on! Australia is just (pretending to) upgrade its network infrastructure (the NBN [wikipedia.org] thingy) - it doesn't happen overnight, but it's still feasible with less than zillions.

                        Now another example is my back yard where the power company dug up the 75 yr old lines to ... Instead multiple huge teams of numerous specialists took mere hours per individual yard.

                        Epic, literally epic. But... isn't this a result of bad planning? (why do the things need to run under the backyard? What's wrong with under the front yard/footpath?)
                        Anyway, I must admit that, in this light, the 10-100 times factor estimated by TMB becomes plausible (gosh, doesn't this guy get bored of being right in details?)

                        • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday September 14, @02:37PM (14 children)

                          Never. Knowing the truth and thinking with your brain instead of your heart are crucial if you prefer to advance society rather than destroy it.

                          --
                          Save Ferris!
                          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @02:49PM (13 children)

                            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:49PM (#567821)

                            Knowing the truth

                            The truth of whom? (I admitted you are right in the US specific details and nothing more)

                            thinking with your brain... to advance society rather than destroy it.

                            Speaking of which... my brain start wondering how come other advanced societies can have underground power cables, but US cannot?
                            Because it's evident that power cables in underground conduits require less maintenance, are less prone to risks and can be replaced faster than aerial cables once installed.

                            • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday September 14, @03:36PM (12 children)

                              Facts are not subjective and the truth is facts. I know this chaps the asses of the left, but tough shit.

                              Mostly because someone other than the power company had to pay astoundingly wasteful amounts for all those easily accessible, underground routes to be built. By someone, I of course mean the customers. Really, it was always going to be the customers paying for it. Personally, I have better things to spend my money on than getting rid of something simple and cheap that works.

                              --
                              Save Ferris!
                              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @04:21PM (9 children)

                                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @04:21PM (#567884)

                                Mostly because someone other than the power company had to pay astoundingly wasteful amounts for all those easily accessible, underground routes to be built.

                                BS. I need only one counterexample to show you it can be done without astoundingly wasteful amounts; so, factually, here it is:
                                where I live, they were placed at the same time as water, gas and sewage pipes and the comms cables; using exactly the simple trench digger I linked previously followed by another machine which dropped the segments of the conduit (prefab concrete)
                                Done by the estate developer. Who would not get its development permit if it wouldn't do it this way.

                                So, again, the truth of whom?

                                Personally, I have better things to spend my money on than getting rid of something simple and cheap that works.

                                1. until it doesn't work and costs an arm and a leg to repair in a short term, emergency situation
                                2, suddenly is no longer about the advance of society, but the spending of personal money

                                • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday September 14, @04:57PM (3 children)

                                  And you don't think digging a trench, laying concrete pipe, and being unable to ever service it without a major undertaking didn't raise the cost of your home significantly? Dumbass.

                                  Having to spend your personal money on wasteful bullshit for aesthetic reasons is about the advancement of society. Society is improved markedly by people having more disposable income in their pockets. It is not improved by not having to look at power lines.

                                  --
                                  Save Ferris!
                                  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @05:19PM

                                    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @05:19PM (#567948)

                                    And you don't think digging a trench, laying concrete pipe, and being unable to ever service it without a major undertaking didn't raise the cost of your home significantly?

                                    Nope, I don't.
                                    it's all about demand and supply - I'm amazed that you still think that the price you pay is in any relation with the production cost. Especially for non-captured markets.

                                    Having to spend your personal money on wasteful bullshit for aesthetic reasons is about the advancement of society.

                                    I may or may not give a dam about the aesthetics, but the tree in from of my home offers part of AC by the shadow it casts for 3hours/day and does not require extra money I need to pay for "vegetation management".
                                    Not to mention that underground power cabling is more secure and easier to maintain once in place

                                    So, the truth of whom, wisebutt?

                                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @07:56PM

                                    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @07:56PM (#568049)

                                    this is hilarious

                                    I have never lived in a community in the US with exposed power lines. I live in a windy tornado prone area right now, and it isn't all double underground or something. everything is. the telco, even gigabit fiber internet offerings. it's all 100% underground. there are a few areas out of the substations where wires lead into the ground, but from there--they are still in the ground.

                                    Even the hook up to my home -- is underground. There are no exposed wires at all anywhere in my subdivision, except for people with an antenna on the roof and their antenna wire is exposed prior to going into the house.

                                    if we had to worry about what you are proposing to be the cheap way to do it, I'd go out of business because of the power outages, and things would break

                                    It's like you say no because you are not open to change. ya'll aint dumb so please consider views outside of your personal anecdotes. lots of businesses would like to pay their employees to work and make money to provide that jingle in the pockets you mention.

                                    no one here is worried about what the power lines we cant see look like

                                    so really have you never planned for failure, or do you just expect the employer to buy replacements? its really amazing how narrow of a view you have for this, and its so narrow i expect it to be political. but it doesnt make sense to make this political. blue AND red houses lose power when the lines fall down

                                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 15, @04:15PM

                                    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 15, @04:15PM (#568515)

                                    And you don't think digging a trench, laying concrete pipe, and being unable to ever service it without a major undertaking didn't raise the cost of your home significantly? Dumbass."

                                    Hmm, let's consider homes with sewers. So... adding a couple more pipes into an already dug whole where you're already adding other pipes compared to putting in a bunch of telephone poles and running wire between them all and you think putting up the poles is cheaper? LOL! Oh and it might be harder to service, maybe, or it may actually be cheaper depending on how it's laid out. You don't know, I don't know, but I like your unbiased assumption.

                                    I'm not sure whether you're the mule or the donkey, but the prefix definitely fits you.

                                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @05:03PM

                                  by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @05:03PM (#567933)

                                  Your example is NEW infrastructure, not replacing old infrastructure. There is a huge difference champ.

                                • (Score: 2) by VLM on Friday September 15, @11:13AM (3 children)

                                  by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 15, @11:13AM (#568374)

                                  they were placed at the same time as water, gas and sewage pipes and the comms cables;

                                  Here that would not meet code for "safety" reasons. Not saying you're wrong because there's as many codes as municipalities (and there's a lot of those) but am making the point that we can also thank government regulation for making things expensive.

                                  The idea of running natgas pipes thru the same hole as power is kinda disturbing to me regardless of code.

                                  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday September 15, @11:24AM (2 children)

                                    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 15, @11:24AM (#568379)

                                    The idea of running natgas pipes thru the same hole as power is kinda disturbing to me regardless of code

                                    Heck, no, where did you get the idea they are in the same place?
                                    I said "in the same time" - different trenches, different trade persons, within the course of 1-2 weeks for a block.

                                    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Friday September 15, @05:40PM (1 child)

                                      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 15, @05:40PM (#568570)

                                      OK sounds much better. Still an interesting topological puzzle to route four thingies separately without crossing over each other excessively...

                              • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Thursday September 14, @07:39PM

                                by DeathMonkey (1380) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @07:39PM (#568037) Journal

                                Facts are not subjective and the truth is facts. I know this chaps the asses of the left, but tough shit.

                                We like to see the evidence for a claim before we decide whether it's a fact or not. You have provided none.

                                Put up or shut up.

                              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 16, @11:15AM

                                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 16, @11:15AM (#568915)

                                Facts are not subjective and the truth is facts. I know this chaps the asses of the left, but tough shit.

                                Only for the morons, of which there are plenty of on both sides.

            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @10:41AM

              by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @10:41AM (#567726)

              It's probably a 15-year-plus project to get it all done.
              ...
              The question is, who will pay for it?

              Bottom line? The consumer. In both cases:

              1. the case in which the poles go down (and their food spoils, the pole goes down over their car or the grandparents die of heat stoke without AC or of waterborne diseases because the water station/boosters don't have power to keep the pressure up and bacteria seep in the mains in places where before there were leaks, etc)
              2. the case in which they pay the utility the extra price to sink the cables
            • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Thursday September 14, @12:40PM (1 child)

              by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @12:40PM (#567757)

              The labour and equipment cost of digging the trenches is the major hurdle - it's very significantly higher than the cost of putting up poles (perhaps 6-10x higher).

              The majority of new medium voltage work I see being done is trenchless. Few years back they bought a new circuit to the industrial park where I work. They had only a few small holes in the ground and pulled a new feeder from an enclosure near our building to a pole on the main road about 550m down the road. Last month I saw another trenchless install where they ran a jumper between a gap in the poles next to a small airport. Though, they did have to excavate about 10-15m because the soil had a lot of large rocks in the way.

              • (Score: 2) by VLM on Friday September 15, @11:16AM

                by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 15, @11:16AM (#568375)

                trenchless

                Its interesting how the same tech has different names in related industries. Telecom of several varieties, at least around here, calls that tech "directional bore"

                If you're gonna need the machine to go under streets and sidewalks may as well directional bore the whole thing....

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @11:07AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @11:07AM (#567732)

          For burial the copper is 3x as thick

          Except power lines are aluminum wires around steel core.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overhead_power_line#Conductors [wikipedia.org]

          Problem with underground is access to the line. Access is needed more than just for maintenance. Think upgrades. Upgrading the line for higher current, and you may need to wire entire new line. In other areas, the ground is not quite stable enough for underground deployment. Florida also has a sinkhole problem, so, maybe not best place for underground power lines? But who knows, that depends on many factors. I think it's best for utilities to manage this than for armchair "feasibility experts".

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @02:20PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @02:20PM (#567806)

        Hand waving obvious bullshit us 80% or more of TMB's commentary.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by driverless on Thursday September 14, @06:01PM

        by driverless (4770) on Thursday September 14, @06:01PM (#567974)

        +1. Most of our power lines (non-US country) are underground. I can't remember the last time we had an outage, it was between five and ten years ago. We don't pay more for power than I was paying in the US. So it's safer from disruption, a lot less ugly, no more expensive, and the power's more reliable than it was when I was in the US. Seems like a win all round.
        As a more general comment, the power infrastructure in the US, at least in the place I've seen it, is closer to third-world than first-world. It's not so much a case of undergrounding it or not, it's getting it into a state where it's just basically fit for service, which currently it doesn't seem to be.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Geezer on Thursday September 14, @01:24AM (3 children)

      by Geezer (511) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @01:24AM (#567563)

      Depends on the issues. If the underground lines are in carlon raceway, it's easier to pull new cable through pipe than string overhead. If its direct-burial cable, not so much.

      Even if there's a break in the conduit, it's easy to find with modern methods.

      Most new sub-divisions in Virginia require undergrounding, both to avoid tree trimming and general aesthetic reasons. With the transformers on unobtrusive above-ground pads, they're easier to service than pigs on a pole.

      I worked on the runway & taxiway lighting at NAS Alameda after the '89 quake, and even with numerous conduit breaks we had the field up by sunset to support MH-53E helo ops to assist in emergency response.

      --
      Scruting the inscrutable for over 60 years.
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by frojack on Thursday September 14, @02:49AM (2 children)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:49AM (#567599) Journal

        So many of our cities have continuous sidewalks everywhere even out into the suburban areas.
        There's a thing called utilawalks where the sidewalk slabs can be lifted individually with a backhoe then replaced as easily after the work is completed.

        There's options for a knee deep concrete trench, prefab of course, or burial of cables in loose corse agregate under the slabs. There's no need to make them water proof.

        Combined with waterproof armored cables and you solve several different problems.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Thursday September 14, @01:01PM

          by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @01:01PM (#567762)

          Direct bury cable doesn't need armor. See this page [okonite.com] for Underground Rural Distribution cable. As you can see it is good for up to 35kV for subtransmission or distribution. Jacket is a special polyethylene blend. Toss it in a deep enough ditch (usually a minimum of 3 ft/1m) and cover with dirt.

        • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Thursday September 14, @01:44PM

          by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Thursday September 14, @01:44PM (#567789)

          I have worked in some places in Philadelphia where some old buildings have their basements under the sidewalks. It's a shame we can't bury the cables there because metal theft is such a problem in the city.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by bob_super on Thursday September 14, @01:31AM (3 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday September 14, @01:31AM (#567567)

      Not sure who gave you a Flamebait, so I corrected with a disagree...

      Buried power lines are everywhere in the civilized world. Yep, they're more expensive, but servicing isn't dramatically slow in my experience.
      And compared to the US's ugly overhead ratsnests, the European back alleys let you focus on the ugly stuff you're about to step on.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @02:01AM (2 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:01AM (#567575)

        Not sure who gave you a Flamebait, so I corrected with a disagree...

        I can see why a "Flamebait" mod is applicable, the "noob-assed question" is an invitation to it.
        Letting aside being wrong, the post sins by being dismissive to the work/experience of others.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bob_super on Thursday September 14, @04:36PM (1 child)

          by bob_super (1357) on Thursday September 14, @04:36PM (#567904)

          The problem with TMB and Eth is how they often require line-item modding.
          One flaimebait chunk followed by one informative chunk, then by a funny quip rounded up by an insightful point, with a finishing touch of troll...

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @04:47PM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @04:47PM (#567919)

            The problem with TMB and Eth is how they often require line-item modding.

            That makes life interesting, wouldn’t you say?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @01:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @01:47AM (#567572)

      From the land of lighting Florida...
      In the air. Trees and winds are an issue. Lighting thought not as much since a ground wire is run above the power lines.
      In the ground. Trees pulled out below ground rips the lines up. But not as often. Bury power lines... study was done and found that will hit it every time. Because wife helps guide better electron flow, a better target. But they still bury them and place lighting arresters on all houses mains.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Thursday September 14, @02:17AM (6 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:17AM (#567581) Journal

      I'm not sure that's accurate. It really depends on how they are buried, how difficult it is to repair after a catastrophe.

      Yes, if they were to bury each individual power line in it's own trench, without any kind of conduit, repairs would take forever plus a couple years. On the other hand, covered concrete trenches would be pretty damned expensive to build, but repairs would be relatively quick and easy after a flood. And, floods are almost the only thing that can damage underground lines. Earthquakes, but those aren't frequent, or especially catastrophic in most of the country.

      So, you have a flood, the electric crews come out, inspect, and find that they need to replace half the lines. Splice your new line onto the damaged line that needs to be replaced, and pull. Unsplice, and tie the new line in at both ends. Finished. No need to set new poles, no need to gather that old line up, untangle it from trees, etc, etc.

      And, underground lines will be totally immune from all the minor little nonsense that currently plagues us out in the rural areas. Routine thunderstorms will NOT knock trees into the lines. It would require some really freak auto accident to cause an outage, as opposed to any idiot can run into a power pole right now and knock service out.

      How does the REST of the world do it? Studies are all fine and good - but what does the empirical data say? Does all of Europe run their lines overhead? All of Asia? Some cost analysis is in order. Just simple cost analysis of existing systems is all that is required. (Perhaps I shouldn't say "simple" in relation to cost analysis - I know freaking MANAGERS who don't have a clue where to start!!)

      If we can't find examples to use for cost analysis, then we really ought to create a test zone. Pick a state, any state, maybe one of the little ones like Delaware. Put it all underground, and run it for five or ten years.

      I'm convinced that despite the rather huge expense of putting it all underground, over time, it will be far more efficient.

      As an added benefit, little kids, idiot adults, and livestock will almost never come into contact with a damaged power line. We read, now and then, about someone being killed when they touch a downed line. With everything underground, a person would have to open an access cover, and get down into the work area in order to touch a live line. But, even then, underground lines will be insulated, rather than suspended by insulators. Touched a line? You're probably not going to get fried.

      Pick any major industrial park where the lines are buried. When was the last time they had to dig them up for repairs? I've never seen or heard of it happening.

      --
      This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
      • (Score: 2) by Magic Oddball on Thursday September 14, @05:24AM

        by Magic Oddball (3847) on Thursday September 14, @05:24AM (#567655) Homepage Journal

        I agree on all points — and from what I've seen, almost every neighborhood built after 1970 in the SF Bay Area has underground lines, so I suppose we'd be a half-decent test. During the 70s & 80s we did lose power a few times each winter during really hard rain, but it declined rapidly after that point, so that since the mid-90s it has only happened maybe twice a decade, if even that.

        --
        Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. —Twain
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @11:14AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @11:14AM (#567734)

        And, floods are almost the only thing that can damage underground lines. Earthquakes, but those aren't frequent, or especially catastrophic in most of the country.

        Sinkholes

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/14/sinkhole-alley-florida-fact-of-life [theguardian.com]

        https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/08/why-are-there-so-many-sinkholes-in-florida/378869/ [theatlantic.com]

        Even if sinkholes aren’t happening more frequently, there is evidence that they’re affecting more people. The state’s Office of Insurance Regulation said 6,694 sinkhole-related claims were filed in 2010 compared with 2,360 claims in 2006.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @12:19PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @12:19PM (#567750)

        I know freaking MANAGERS who don't have a clue where to start!!

        Those must be extraordinarily incompetent managers. Every normal manager knows exactly where to start: Fire up your email and write to some subordinate that you need the result immediately.

      • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Thursday September 14, @01:24PM (2 children)

        by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @01:24PM (#567771)

        As an added benefit, little kids, idiot adults, and livestock will almost never come into contact with a damaged power line.
        ...
        With everything underground, a person would have to open an access cover, and get down into the work area in order to touch a live line.

        In new york city, a few people and pets have been electrocuted from the grates and covers on underground electrical vaults during the winter months. The salt and melt water makes it's way into the vaults where it corrodes exposed metal such as the bonding jumpers and conduit bushings ruining the enclosures ground bond. Next thing you know the salt water is now conducting line current to the now poorly or completely ungrounded vault walls. Now you have a potentially fatal hazard lurking innocently on city streets. One of the more recent from memory was a woman tried to rescue her dog being shocked and was unfortunately electrocuted. Emergency responders measured 480V on that cover.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday September 14, @02:50PM (1 child)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:50PM (#567822) Journal

          Ouch. You seem to be talking about basically a manhole cover in the sidewalk. The city hasn't modified the relevant codes, and required those vaults to be elevated, closed over, and sealed better? Whoever thought that what amounts to a manhole cover would keep water out?

          --
          This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
          • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Thursday September 14, @05:54PM

            by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @05:54PM (#567969)

            Yes. BTW, this is in Manhattan where space is at a premium. Though they also exist in the outer boroughs, just less of a chance to come across 480V on a residential network. They are junction vaults where service entry cables tie to the utility distribution or connection between runs of feeders. I might have been mistaken in my original post and realized that the ducts and junction boxes are most likely all concrete. So no ground conductivity at all. They could build in sensors which have exposed corrosion proof electrodes to monitor for voltage leaks. But something like that requires money and maintenance that no one wants to spend. Here's a diagram, scroll down to the underground network image: https://www.coned.com/en/about-us/media-center/multimedia-library-or-gallery [coned.com] Some other interesting things in there too.

            I've seen lots of above ground switchgear and enclosures around Long Island and California, specifically the Aliso Viejo area. Takes up some space but not really all that bad. They also have a lot of underground transformer vaults out in Aliso Viejo and the surrounding area.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @03:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @03:48AM (#567620)

      Reality and the civilised world disagrees with you. As usual.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @10:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @10:29PM (#568114)

      I invite you to come see Yurop and marvel at our inner-city power lines. It will be a rather quick tour, promise!

      Oh, BRB, thunderstorm. Gotta unplug all the electronics so lightning won't fry everything. And get the car into a safe spot so cables or poles won't bash the shit out of it when they fall. Gonna be careful, don't want to get a live HV line smacked into my face by some nearby pushover tree. Oh wait, I don't need to do all of that. Wanna know why? Oh, I bet you do.

      Pro-tip: it's not viable.

  • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @12:45AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @12:45AM (#567546)

    My father was an Ee. He said buried power lines are very inefficient

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @01:30AM (1 child)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @01:30AM (#567565)

      At 100kV+ yes. At 10kV-, less of a problem. Where I live (suburbian Melbourne) there are no aerial power lines after the township transformer point.

      The DC high voltage (that would mitigate the losses in AC HV) is a matter that should be considered within today's technological capabilities (which didn't exist when the current power grid was set up) - extinguishing the arcs and switching are the major problems there.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by PartTimeZombie on Thursday September 14, @01:36AM

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Thursday September 14, @01:36AM (#567568)

        Where I live (suburban Auckland), we have the same thing, probably modelled on the suburban Melbourne setup, because NZ electrickery is the same as Australia, for obvious reasons

        Lines were put underground starting if memory serves about 20 years ago.

        As far as I can tell it works really well and certainly looks a lot better.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Virindi on Thursday September 14, @12:50AM (8 children)

    by Virindi (3484) on Thursday September 14, @12:50AM (#567548)

    It would be nice. I live in a place where the power goes out on average once every two weeks (running average for 2017 year to date). It is at best very annoying, and my line pretty much surely costs the power company more than the revenue it generates.

    The county and the electric utility, maybe 10 years back, did a study about rerunning all the lines underground. The resulting cost estimate was enormous and completely infeasible. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars for an urban county that at the time had 200k residents (and a very high population density, at the time I believe the most densely populated unincorporated county in the country). Basically the best case scenario in terms of converting single family homes to underground.

    The more reasonable answer to my problem is the intermediate solution. In the old days, up until the early 2000s, the electric utility used to trim the trees around the power lines yearly. Since 2000, they have trimmed them exactly once. Some management type decided it was cheaper for them to just let my electricity get knocked out than to do proper maintenance, the same maintenance that had been done since the lines were installed in the 1930s and 1940s.

    As the result of saving on that maintenance, now they are replacing the entire line every month or two. Every two weeks the transformer explodes, which can't be cheap either. And I don't think linesmen drive out to replace stuff for free.

    • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Thursday September 14, @03:14AM (5 children)

      by NotSanguine (285) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @03:14AM (#567606) Homepage Journal

      It would be nice. I live in a place where the power goes out on average once every two weeks (running average for 2017 year to date). It is at best very annoying, and my line pretty much surely costs the power company more than the revenue it generates.

      Where I live, we have underground electrical lines. I live on an island that periodically gets hurricanes (the last big one was in 2012) and only *twice* in my half century of living have we had pervasive power outages. The first was in 1977 [wikipedia.org] and the second was in 2003 [wikipedia.org]. There have been numerous hurricanes before, between and after those blackouts which had zero oe little impact on power. Why? Because all the power lines are underground.

      In 2012, some parts of the island did lose power for several days as well. However, that didn't impact me in the slightest.

      What's more, none of these power outages had anything to do with downed or damaged power lines. Why? Because they're all underground.

      Having electric lines above ground makes little sense, except to the MBAs and power company execs who don't want to spend the money on it, and won't be affected by such things because, wait for it, they live in areas where the electricity cables are all underground.

      --
      No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 2) by Virindi on Thursday September 14, @03:39AM (2 children)

        by Virindi (3484) on Thursday September 14, @03:39AM (#567614)

        Don't get me wrong, I would love buried power. It would be a big difference!

        My point was that it would be prohibitively expensive to upgrade these neighborhoods. It is easy to say "it should be converted!" but someone would have to pay for it, and by someone I mean the taxpayer/end user. Would I be willing to pay $1000 to underground my power*? Yes! But I also have one of the least reliable lines anywhere. There are plenty of others for whom it would be a wasted expense.

        However, tree trimming was part of the original engineering for the lines. It was done from 1940 to 2000 not because of some pointless reason, but because it was required by the original design. It should already be baked in to the cost, and does not represent a large upfront expense.

        *One of my neighbors once asked the power company about undergrounding his line. He was quoted $100,000. The $1000ish number I am using is based on dividing the study cost of undergrounding the whole county by the number of county residents at the time of the study.

        • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Thursday September 14, @04:03AM (1 child)

          by NotSanguine (285) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @04:03AM (#567629) Homepage Journal

          Your point is well taken. Public utilities should be required to maintain their infrastructure. Full stop. If they're not, there's likely a problem with corruption in your local/state governments.

          That said, I'll just point you back to the last sentence in my original reply to you and assert that it applies in spades to your situation.

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RS3 on Thursday September 14, @04:26AM

            by RS3 (6367) on Thursday September 14, @04:26AM (#567636)

            I fully agree- it's a problem of short-term MBA thinking (don't bury), versus long-term (bury them). And the better job they do initially, the longer it will last trouble-free.

            Everyone is talking about $. Our obsession with $ makes us look bad to the rest of the world. Can you put some kind of value on how unpleasant life can be during, and as a result of many days or weeks without electricity? For example, I have a water well- no electricity, no water! Electricity runs furnace too. And there's all that spoiled food...

            Your power company MBAs and execs. likely have generators, which really aren't terribly expensive considering the benefit... (shuffles off to check local cl for generators...)

      • (Score: 1, Troll) by realDonaldTrump on Thursday September 14, @07:58AM (1 child)

        by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Thursday September 14, @07:58AM (#567683) Homepage Journal

        Can you imagine power poles in New York City? What an eyesore and a hazard that would be! A disaster for the property values, for the curb appeal. You go to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, nobody knows more about money. You go to the NYSE, nobody knows more about business. You go to Trump Tower, nobody knows more about real estate. No power poles in sight! 🇺🇸

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @07:37AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @07:37AM (#567679)

      We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars for an urban county that at the time had 200k residents (and a very high population density

      So about the same price as one F35, the fighter jet best known for being slower than an old Russian TU-160 bomber...

    • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Thursday September 14, @01:34PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @01:34PM (#567777)

      Some management type decided it was cheaper for them to just let my electricity get knocked out than to do proper maintenance, the same maintenance that had been done since the lines were installed in the 1930s and 1940s.

      I think it's going to get worse with all the new plastic hardware being used on the lines now. Plastic coated fiberglass or glass reinforced plastic is all the rage but will not outlast the metal and porcelain/glass insulators of last century. In my neighborhood in south queens, the old hardware still standing is 90-100 years old. Sure the poles are heavily weathered, arms thin and populated with rotted wooden pins from previous repairs. But they are still delivering electric. Only one short power outage this year and the last was sandy. Before that, the great northeast blackout of 2003. Not bad for nearly 100 year old hardware. All the newer poles going up are taller and use plastic insulators. I'm sure the bean counters love the low cost. Doesn't matter to them because by the time the hardware falls apart and the utility is swamped with repairs, they'll be retiring to another part of the country they didn't fuck up.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @12:52AM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @12:52AM (#567549)

    We should go wireless... Problem solved

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Thursday September 14, @12:57AM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Thursday September 14, @12:57AM (#567552) Journal
      --
      [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @01:23AM (4 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @01:23AM (#567562)

      We should go wireless...

      Lacking that, I would go with as short wires as possible. E.g.:
      1. from my solar panel to the home battery (expensive now, early adopters and whatnot, but progress has been fast in the last decade); or
      2. from the suburb block's/city skyscrapper's own compact fusion reactor to the consumer [wikipedia.org] (I suspect the "perpetual 10 years to commercial availability" applies)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @08:00PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @08:00PM (#568054)

        wait that goes against tmb's statement that utilities are entitled to a profit. you're denying a profit AND not using their cheap lines!!

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @08:31PM (2 children)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @08:31PM (#568068)

          wait that goes against tmb's statement that utilities are entitled to a profit. you're denying a profit AND not using their cheap lines!!

          I'm entitled to profit as well, If/when I can afford the investment, I'll do it and compete with them in my backyard.
          I'll call this "backyard capitalism"

          • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday September 15, @03:31AM (1 child)

            I just call it regular capitalism. Capitalism ain't about making corporations wealthy. It's about you owning your effort and me owning mine. Competition is the mechanism that makes capitalism work. You're, on a very small scale, competing with the power company. Good for you. More people should. Monopolies, natural or acquired via corrupt politicians, are not capitalism, they're what destroys a working capitalist system.

            --
            Save Ferris!
            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday September 15, @04:12AM

              by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 15, @04:12AM (#568272)

              I just call it regular capitalism. Capitalism ain't about making corporations wealthy

              Poe's law and all that, the AC I was answering to suggested denying others a profit is against ... whavevs, thus my urge to make a distinction.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @12:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @12:56AM (#567551)

    and treat it like a common carrier

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @01:17AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @01:17AM (#567560)

    In Kanata, Ontario, almost all of the local power distribution lines are fully buried (between buildings and the substations). There are very few utility poles and the only power lines you see are the big long-haul ones.

    15-20 years ago power outages in Kanata were a fact of life, at least once a week. No idea if that had anything to do with the lines being buried. Not anymore though, these days the electricity service is very reliable. So it's certainly possible to make buried lines work.

    We are too far inland for crazy hurricane winds. That would probably take out the main distribution lines, but that's probably somewhat less to work to repair than if thousands of utility poles are knocked out.

    • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Skwearl on Thursday September 14, @01:48AM (7 children)

      by Skwearl (4314) on Thursday September 14, @01:48AM (#567573)

      Hurricane winds will not knock down those main distribution lines. I live in Northern BC, under the trade winds. 100 km/h winds are a monthly occurence. We have main lines running down from our dams, and windmills to service vancouver, washington state, and california. If those bad boys went down, it would be front page news.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @02:30AM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:30AM (#567584)

        100 km/h winds are a monthly occurence.

        The dependence of the wind damage to wind speed is supralinear - if only considering a simplified model with "damage is proportional with the kinetic energy transferred", you'd get something that goes with the square of the speed. This simplified model may apply for "laminar flow" which is as close as possible to "sturdy buildings in constant (trade) winds".

        Unfortunately, the relation damage/speed goes even further than supra-quadratic for stormy weather; even when considered only local effects, gust of winds, induced vibration, turbulence/vortices etc. will increase the damage with more than the square of the wind speed.
        When considering "damage integrated over space/time" the things goes even more complicated - e.g. debris from one place carried by wind into another will produce secondary damages [accuweather.com], if the wind is strong enough you can even see a cascade breakdown effect (if a "clean tornado" is scary, imagine a tornado whirling all the debris).

        Here's an Fine study fitting the hurricane loss (L) over maximum speed (Vmax) and size of the storm(R) [iop.org]: it goes with L = 10c VmaxaRb, with "with c determining an overall scaling factor and the exponents a and b generally ranging between 4–12 and 2–4 respectively. ".

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday September 14, @02:31AM (3 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:31AM (#567585) Journal

        I want to point out that expected 100 kph winds can be engineered for. 100 kph is only about 70 mph, and I think it safe to say that all of our power mains will survive that. Hurricane winds though, are often twice that strong, possibly even three times - and they aren't exactly routine, and expected. You're probably comparing apples to apples, but you've chosen entirely different varieties.

        --
        This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday September 14, @02:36AM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Thursday September 14, @02:36AM (#567589) Journal

          Fuji vs. rotten fermented Granny Smith with worms inside?

          --
          [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday September 14, @02:45AM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:45AM (#567597) Journal

            No, it's not that bad, really. The power lines mentioned have been engineered for some powerful winds, and that same engineering would be applicable to "hurricane proof" power lines. It's a matter of degree. Of course, I'm not sure that we can build to that level of strength and durability. A cat five hurricane is probably going to take out some main power lines, even if we try to build to that level.

            --
            This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
        • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Thursday September 14, @03:36AM

          by RS3 (6367) on Thursday September 14, @03:36AM (#567610)

          Agreed- wind on wires, poles, towers, etc., is pretty easily handled. It's all the blowing debris, including leaf-bearing trees and limbs catching on wires and poles, that greatly multiplies the force.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by c0lo on Thursday September 14, @02:35AM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @02:35AM (#567588)

        Hurricane winds will not knock down those main distribution lines.

        Here's an interstate power line in South Australia after an encounter with a twin tornado overimposed on winds with gusts between 90-120kmh [abc.net.au].

      • (Score: 2) by driven on Thursday September 14, @02:43AM

        by driven (6295) on Thursday September 14, @02:43AM (#567595)

        Always bothered me how the power lines in B.C. obscured the beautiful mountain views. They should bury more of the lines.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @01:54AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @01:54AM (#567574)

    Should the US Put Power Lines Underground?

    Yes! Let's start in California.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by SomeGuy on Thursday September 14, @02:45AM

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Thursday September 14, @02:45AM (#567596)

    Should the US Put Power Lines Underground?

    The US should put power lines up Equifax's butt. That is where they should put them. Fry 'em. Fry 'em until they are smoldering ash.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by bradley13 on Thursday September 14, @09:34AM (1 child)

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @09:34AM (#567708) Homepage Journal

    Everywhere else in the Western world, the power lines are underground (except the long-haul, 400kv lines). There are a lot of reasons for that.

    Damage is very rare, because what can happen? No more downed power lines. Almost the only power outages we have are planned ones. There was one about three years ago, when then needed to do some major work on a substation, and we were warned in advance. Before that, it's been so long that I don't remember the previous one.

    Maintenance is nearly nonexistent - no need to trim trees, check poles, etc.. Your infrastructure is not exposed to the weather. If you do have damage, is easier, because the cables run in conduits. No need to mess with poles, much less climb them.

    This needn't be any more expensive. You already have to install water and sewer service to all buildings. Install the power line conduits at the same time.

    And finally, it looks a lot nicer, not having poles and wires all over your cities.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Thursday September 14, @03:50PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday September 14, @03:50PM (#567857)

      Damage is very rare, because what can happen?

      Somebody severs one of them while digging blind? I feel like this is a thing we hear about all the time.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by stormreaver on Thursday September 14, @11:57AM (1 child)

    by stormreaver (5101) on Thursday September 14, @11:57AM (#567746)

    A few years ago, AT&T came through my subdivision, dug up every yard that had copper wire (which is to day, all of them), and replaced it all with...new copper wire. So no, the "too expensive to be feasible" excuse doesn't make sense. If AT&T, the corporate poster child of customer neglect, can do it, so can the local utilities.

    Also, ALL gas pipes are buried. And wouldn't you know it, they never have a weather-related problem.

    • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Thursday September 14, @02:39PM

      by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Thursday September 14, @02:39PM (#567815)

      They have weather related problems where I am; sinkholes that open during the winter thaw can break the pipes. In my local municipalities we also have problems with forgetting where the gas lines are (since many of them were never documented properly over the years passing through many hands) and then being surprised when the 100+ year old cast iron ones explode when a sinkhole clips them.

      I mean at least the electrical lines probably won't explode, I guess...

  • (Score: 0, Troll) by realDonaldTrump on Thursday September 14, @02:19PM

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Thursday September 14, @02:19PM (#567804) Homepage Journal

    Good job, Jacksonville Sheriff! pic.twitter.com/q6VKOvPKuU

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