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Underground Power Cables Too Costly, Experts Say

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(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The recent widespread outages from October’s snowstorm has many wondering why power lines aren’t underground and out of the way of falling trees.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

The wet, heavy snow pulled down trees all across the Tri-state, downing power lines and utility poles, knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of customers.

But experts say installing power cables underground isn’t as simple as it seems.

The Edison Electric Institute, a consortium run by investor owned utilities, claims putting the power supply underground comes down to cost.

“In no case have state utility commissioners come out and said ‘you know what we need to put all these lines underground’ and the reason for that is that the cost of putting the lines underground is much higher,” said the institute’s Dan Riedinger. “Five to 10 times higher than leaving them above ground.”

But Riedinger acknowledges that putting the wires underground that run down the street and to your house would only cost about $10,000 more per mile in a rural area.

He cautions however, that the benefits in terms of outages is not as great as you would hope because many underground systems ultimately are fed by overhead lines.

What you do think? Sound off below in our comments section…

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