Why Don’t We Just Put Power Lines Underground?
The winds from Sunday night and Monday mornings storm reached gusts of up to 70 MPH, uprooting trees and toppling power lines leaving over 400,000 CMP customers without power. This was a larger outage than the ice storm of 1998.
So if power lines are so vulnerable to wind, ice and snow, why don't we just put them underground? The simple answer is money.
According to a CNN story from 2014 after the ice storm in Pennsylvania, the cost to bury power lines underground is prohibitive. In the billions of dollars and takes decades. Plus they have other drawbacks like taking 60% longer to fix, being more vulnerable to flooding and can still fail with equipment issues or lightning strikes.
Here in Maine, with so many rural roads, the cost would just be too much for us to bear. So while it seems like a good idea in theory, it is a massive undertaking for only a little benefit.
So don't expect underground power lines anytime soon. We're Mainers. We can stick it out and make the best of things while the CMP crews work around the clock to get the power back on.