Is It Time To Bury The Powerlines?

Electrical Crews Working on Fixing Lines in Haverhill, MA (Credit: National Grid/Twitter)

BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) -- Did you lose power during this string of March nor’easters we’ve been dealing with?

Was it the first time, or have you suffered through this nightmare before?

For many thousands of unfortunate Massachusetts residents, power outages are a nasty, recurring fact of life. It can be a difficult, even terrifying experience depending on the size of your family and your reliance on electricity, a costly one too, since the power companies don’t reimburse you for the lost service or the cost of food that gets spoiled.

And judging from the folks I hear about who pick up and move out of our Garden of Eden after a couple of rounds with bad-weather power outages, the costs extend to everyone, not just the victims.

So maybe this is a good time to once again raise the question of whether or not it makes more sense to try to bury power lines underground than keep repairing them.

As Commonwealth Magazine points out, they’re already burying some of the wires in downtown Pittsfield and Springfield, and suburbs like Newton, Duxbury and Chelmsford have experimented with underground utilities.

But there are problems with that approach.

Underground electric lines can still be damaged by the elements, and repairs can be expensive. Speaking of which, former Gov. Deval Patrick once estimated it would cost a trillion dollars – with a T – to bury all power lines statewide.

That’s a lot of dough, but the status quo is also a money pit.

Maybe it’s time for all the self-proclaimed geniuses around here to get together and dope out a way forward that doesn’t leave so many of us in the dark every time the wind kicks up.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio. 

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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