Letter: Bury the lines, put power problems to rest

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Since my family moved to North Yarmouth four years ago, we’ve lost power innumerable times. Last week, no power for three hours; Saturday, a short blip, a seemingly weekly occurrence.

Most Mainers lost power for several days last Halloween. (Us? Five.) We’ve had Christmas here with no power for two days, along with no power on Thanksgiving for two more. (Watch out, Hanukkah.)

Last November, after the Halloween That Wasn’t, we visited Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where one sees a stunning lack of infrastructure, minus the new toll highway from Ochi to Kingston, funded and built by the Chinese. On our last full day at the resort, we lost power – in Maine (I got a CMP text message). Thankfully, power was restored before we lost our perishables, if not my patience.

Obviously, having a generator is key. I’ve been stunned by how many people I know who don’t have one. Yet the question beckons: Why don’t we bury our power lines like in Europe?

Well, it’s more expensive. And we know that power companies are only interested in their profits, nothing more. (Just like the oil and gas industries when it comes to climate change.) And to the Grand Obstruction Party, infrastructure is seen as welfare.

Also, terrorists know our antiquated electrical infrastructure is ripe for mayhem. Gas lines and sewers are buried. Isn’t it time we bury our power lines? Fewer power outages, fewer poles for vehicles to crash into, fewer accidental electrocutions, more energy security. Bury the darn lines.

Kris Eric Kucera
North Yarmouth

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  • Little crow

    Burying power lines is not just more expensive, it’s exponentially more expensive. The lines that run along the poles are uninsulated so they can be air cooled. They can also be visually inspected. Unlike gas and oil pipelines, buried power lines have to be insulated and cooled, and require special heavier wire. The underground lines have to be buried in clean sand, and should be laid in conduit pipes. Every roadway would have to be excavated and some places would require extensive blasting. Marshy areas would pose special challenges with corrosion and short circuits.

    All this would make your electric bill cost about 4 times as much, which you may not mind, but it would bother some people. Or are you one of those greedy consumers who only cares about his profits, nothing more?

    • Maine K2

      My profits? What does that even mean? Blame the customer, that’s a real winning argument. First of all, estimates are that it would cost 125% more to bury the lines, not 400% more, so get your facts straight. Second, power-line workers are in the top 10 of most dangerous jobs due to electrocutions. And if you look at vehicle accidents and power poles, you’d know that it’s a huge problem. Power companies don’t want to invest in new tech., they want to keep their same, old infrastructure to maximize their profits, when they could have a quasi-conscientious take on things, and improve infrastructure and service. And read up about terrorists who are already eyeing our antiquated system. If you know anything about contingency planning, anything past 72 hours of disruption leads to mayhem. But hey, if you want to defend power companies, who are essentially monopolies like the telecomm industry, go ahead, and wear your Trump MAGA hat while you’re at it. Europe has solved this problem, America just sweeps it under the rug. Maybe you’re happy losing power constantly. I am not. Power to the People, literally and figuratively. *mic drop*

    • Maine K2

      And as an addendum: Obviously, in locations where burying the lines are not feasible, well, then — you don’t. Yet, if we could put men on the moon — six times! — we certainly have the tech to bury much of our power supply, especially these days. It’s called foresight, yet in your case foresight is a cataract.