9:00 AM EDT, July 5, 2012
Whether one believes in global warming or not, Dan Rodricks accurately points out in his article that weather driven power failures are not going away and may even be occurring more frequently ("Getting used to weather's new normal," July 3).
The cause of the widespread outages affecting hundreds of thousands of homes and traffic signals is usually broken tree limbs pulling down power lines. Mr. Rodricks cites BGE's cost of repairs to the electric grid from a recent storm at $81 million and sums up with the conclusion that its ridiculous that the lines haven't been put underground. When one considers the often overlooked cost on the personal side of the equation, i.e. hundreds of thousands of people losing hundreds of dollars worth of food, hotel bills, generator purchases, general human misery and finally loss of life, the cost of these outages is unacceptable! Here's one example loss of food calculation: 500,000 households with an average $200 food loss equals $100 million.
After growing up in heavily treed suburban Detroit and experiencing routine power outages, I moved to Denver, where I lived for 10 years and did not experience a single outage! The front range of the Rocky Mountains experiences heavy wind gusts (50-75 mph) routinely, and Denver's high quality power provider, Public Service Co., had the foresight to install its power lines underground.
Although the cost of installing underground power lines is significant, its not as bad as it used to be, since high tech underground boring has become widely used. When the cost of power failures takes into account the loss on the personal side of the balance sheet, and that the cost of human misery and loss of life cannot even be quantified, there is no reasonable argument for not putting the power lines underground. The weather is certainly not getting any better. Its time for BGE to end the misery, cut its losses, and get it done!
Gary Moyer, Baltimore
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