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Losing power is a real pain when it happens. Weather is usually the cause for widespread power outages, whether it is spring storms with strong winds knocking trees into power lines or winter storms with heavy ice that causes limbs to fall into power lines. Other outages can be caused by vehicle accidents or animals wreaking havoc on the lines. With these power disruptions, people may ask why their power company doesn't just bury power lines like some municipalities are doing.
There are many reasons why cities, towns, and developments choose to keep overhead power lines. Although underground power lines seem like a great idea after that strong storm that leaves you without electricity for hours or even days, the disadvantages tend to outweigh the advantages in the long run.
Underground power lines are expensive. It costs a pretty penny to bury power lines. Depending on where you live, it can be over six times more expensive than overhead lines. Installing underground power lines would result in a steep increase in your electric bill, and even then there likely wouldn't be enough money to complete the project for decades.
Installing underground lines takes time—a lot of it. It takes a significant amount of time to complete installation of underground power lines. It can take well over a decade or two to get the project done.
Repairing these lines can be a pain when there is a problem. Underground lines do have significantly less problems than above ground lines. When there is a problem, it is typically in the terminal boxes, which are easy to get to. However, when problems do arise in the line itself, it can be a very time consuming and difficult process to find the issue. It takes far longer to find and repair an issue in an underground line than it does in an above ground line.
Underground lines can still be hit and damaged, and can interfere with other utility companies lines. A person innocently installing fence posts might disrupt an underground line. Digging can damage lines. Other utilities may also have lines underground that get in the way.
Underground lines can get confusing. When power lines stretch between towns, the cost can be hard to divvy up between the different locations. Since underground lines are so much more expensive, the cost can be substantial and generally different jurisdictions don't want to pay for lines that don't belong to them.
In general, overhead lines are less expensive to put up and maintain. Power line damage and loss of electricity are inconvenient when they occur, but the benefit of installing underground lines is far outweighed by the cost and the other disadvantages. The next time your power goes out during a storm, just be grateful that your electric bill is likely significantly less than your friend's bill with the underground lines. Contact an electrical service expert, like those at Bader Mechanical Inc, to learn more.Share