Is going underground a remedy for extended power outages?
- May 29, 2018 12:41 pm GMT
One thing that can negatively affect that quality of life for both homeowners and business owners is a widespread extended electrical power outage, like the one resulting from the
The borough is looking at ways to protect residents and businesses from future extended outages. One way, which Mayor
PPL and Met-Ed are the two electric utility companies serving this area.
"Met-Ed customers seem to have a harder time getting their power restored than do PPL customers," Probst said.
"Putting the lines underground is a decision to be made by the borough, not by either of the power companies,"
PPL and Met-Ed both say they wouldn't recommend underground power lines due to the cost, which would be seven to 10 times more than that of above-ground lines to install and maintain.
"Are customers willing to pay for this?," asked spokesman
One PPL customer which never lost power during the
"We do plan on fixing our roads which are in bad shape," Probst said. "The idea is to have the power lines installed underground in phases as we're ripping up and repaving the roads ourselves. This would save the utility companies extra work for which they wouldn't charge us."
Here's the catch
However, even underground, power lines would still be susceptible to shortages caused by groundwater infiltration from flooding, as well as animals chewing on them, according to Surgeoner and Nixon. Plus, problems causing outages can take longer to locate and repair on underground lines than on above-ground lines.
"None of this would be a concern if the underground lines were insulated by conduits protecting them from such threats," Probst said.
Sounds good, but Nixon mentioned other potential barriers to underground lines. These include the physical constraints of existing buildings and other infrastructure, along with the presence of gas, water and other underground utilities.
"In addition, undergrounding existing lines means also undergrounding telecommunications and all other lines currently attached to above-ground electric utility poles, which adds to the cost," Nixon said.
Echoing this point is a question posed by
"What good would it do to put power lines underground when most of the storm damage was to the above-ground high-voltage towers outside of town?," Prutting asked.
Trying to revitalize
The bottom line, according to Probst and others, is that something needs to be done to prevent future extended power outages. Especially in the borough's downtown business district, which has been trying to revitalize itself.
The Altar Tattoo Piercing, a Main Street Met-Ed customer, was without power for three days after the
"That's three days of wages lost," owner
Like The Altar, other Met-Ed customers in the business district had a harder time getting power restored than PPL customers did after the storm.
"I felt it bad," said
For the three days it was out,
"If it's feasible, then putting power lines underground would be logical because these weather patterns seem to be getting worse," manager
"We lost about
Though their power was out for shorter periods, some PPL customers still were significantly affected.
"We did three haircuts by candlelight," said employee
Neighboring Sweet Creams Cafe's power likewise was out from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning.
"We had to close early and later had to get rid of all our ice cream," manager
In contrast, Main Street Printing never lost power, but did lose Internet service for two days.
"That hurt us because our jobs come in and our prints go out through the Internet," owner
Probst said, "No business should have to go through this. Depending on what type of business you are, it can drive up your insurance rates and cause a lot of frustration. That's not what we want for our local businesses."
(c)2018 the Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa.
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