With thousands of above-ground power lines taken out by the strong storms over the past few weeks, some people are wondering if underground lines are the way to go.
But those familiar with the idea say it's not so simple. Dominion Virginia Power says this was the third worst power outage in the company's history. The aftermath has left many asking, how can we keep it from happening again?
One of the more popular alternatives is a subterranean solution, burying utility lines below ground. However, Dominion Virginia Power says it's not that easy.
A 2005 study by the Virginia State Corporation Commission found that it would cost Dominion $83 billion to bury power lines across the state. That breaks down to $800,000 a mile. But some people, like former Charlottesville Planning Commission Chair Lloyd Snook, aren't buying those numbers.
"I think the expenses are greatly exaggerated because if they were to decide, we're going to do this as an entire system-wide effort, that the economies of scale at some point would kick in, in a way that they don't price in to the quotes that they give us."
Charlottesville Neighborhood Development Services says it has done extensive line burying in the downtown area in past years, but the practice is very costly.
In addition, in Virginia, localities don't have the power to mandate utilities bury lines. That leaves only a few circumstances where line burying is possible, like new development or certain re-development projects.
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Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science.Full Story
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story