Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pepco: Put Power Lines Underground Once and for All

by Bill Adler

In neighborhoods with overhead power lines, it seems like every time we have a snowstorm, ice storm, thunderstorm, wind storm, or heavy rainstorm, somebody loses power.

It's time to stop debating and start burying power lines. Sure, it's expensive and there's a downside: It can take longer to repair a damaged underground line than an above-ground line. But power failures are far fewer with underground lines. Every single time our power has gone out in our Cleveland Park home, the lights have continued to shine bright along Connecticut Avenue, where the power lines are, in fact, underground.

Power outages result in not only broken electronics and spoiled food, but lost productivity: When the electricity is out, nothing gets done.

It's not all that complicated an issue. Putting power lines underground isn't a radical idea, either: It's a common sense idea. While putting power lines underground won't eliminate all power outages, it will stop most of them. Other cities have underground power lines, as do many parts of  Washington, DC. All of DC should have underground power lines.

Are multiple prolonged power outages a year acceptable? Is that what the 21st century should be like: Guaranteed power failures whenever there's a storm?  I say it's not acceptable. It's shameful. Power lines should go underground where they are not at the mercy of falling trees and tree limbs.

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