Burying power lines is not unlike going solar. There is a big upfront cost that is difficult to afford or justify. Firms like SolarCity point out that houses with solar arrays are more salable and sell for more. They have investors who contribute to the upfront cost of installation. The same would be true for communities that wanted to bury their lines. They would know that their community would have higher house values because of the lifesaving value of buried lines. Community associations could organize households to purchase power at higher rates for a specified time to pay for the burial. Outside investors could buy into part of the upfront burial costs and receive returns from the increased rates.
Or we could raise taxes and have the most bargaining power at the state level to bury lines economically, since this would save lives and allow businesses to continue to operate. This always seems objectionable to 50 percent of the voters, so perhaps it's better to swelter to death a week or month from now when the next global warming weather event crushes us.
Theodore Houk, LuthervilleCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun