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What will it take for the United States to start burying utilities wires?

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posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 07:22 AM
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Historically it was never a problem was it? Huge amounts of land with few people - stick utilities where you like. As time progresses, ease is replaced by financial aspects - after all, if healthy profits aren't reported then the CEO's don't get their big bonuses do they? It may seem cynical but profit margins drive all coroprate decisions.

However, for tinfoil hat time, how can they bury anything underground? We all know underground is already full of DUMB's and other nefarious activities!




posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 07:27 AM
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We've wondered this too. My friend moved to Lexington when we were kids and her neighborhood had everything buried. Recently our hometown in Cincinnati had the main road through town widened, a continuous flow intersection installed at the main intersection in town, AND all telephone/wire poles replaced with new poles.

With studies showing that widening roads only adds and invites more traffic, I am not sure why they chose to spend our money on that and not burying the utilities.

-Alee
edit on 7/23/2018 by NerdGoddess because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 07:41 AM
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a reply to: EternalSolace

I live in South Florida, so my situation is a bit isolated, but after the last hurricane, I was without phone service for three months because the area of repair was flooded.

They could not get access until the water receded, then they had to wait for the area to accommodate their heavy equipment. Underground wires does not work in a lot of areas.

Underground electric wires in rural areas I don't see happening too soon, as the customer to cost ratio is too low to make it cost reasonable.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 07:47 AM
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a reply to: dragonridr




... But if the cable fails underground they have to dig up the cable replace it then rebury it. ...


Not really. Unless a power cable went to earth-ground and exploded (damaging it's conduit), they will usually just pull the cables out and replace them. That is, only IF a conductor is actually damaged which is not case in the vast majority of outages due to storms. Most outages are caused by line fuses opening (tripping) and/or transformer failures. Putting transformers in underground vaults though is much more expensive (and more dangerous). And line fuses underground are a royal PITA (especially anywhere that has snow and ice). Line fuses blow all the time, and to have to find them underground and then access them is time consuming.

The other thing a lot of people forget is the efficiency of a buried electrical line is much less because of losses due to capacitance, or 'line charging current'. Overhead this capacitance is not really acted upon electrically so there is less net loss, but underground those currents go straight to earth-ground and are therefore consumed. Charging currents are 25x-75x higher for buried lines than for underground lines. This affects how long a cable can be underground (depending on voltage). In some cases line charging current can equal max current capacity for the cable so there's no more current for the consumer. It's a significant factor.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 07:57 AM
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originally posted by: Echo007
It comes down to cost. $2million per mile to bury power lines, 400k per mile for above ground power lines.



I used to dig trenches for £15 or so an hour, through shale, with a pick.

$2m a mile?

I feel ripped-off, lol




posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 08:52 AM
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a reply to: dragonridr

Yes its far more expensive.......

No you don't dig up cable to replace it..... Its not direct bury

Lets not state things as fact when we don't know
edit on 7/23/2018 by ManBehindTheMask because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 08:57 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Exactly......

The line is "blown in"

And depending on how long your stretch is it takes some big machines and time to pull that line through.....

Especially if you have a sock come off halfway
edit on 7/23/2018 by ManBehindTheMask because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 09:02 AM
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It’s also much faster and cheaper to upgrade overhead lines.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 09:03 AM
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I would love to see buried utility wires.

Just please no digging in that abandoned field at the end of my street......for reasons.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 10:44 AM
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I do not know about electrical lines, but I do know about communication lines. Not only do they cost more but they do seem to fail quite a bit (usually because of construction) and when they do they take much longer to repair and cost much more as well.

However, I do agree that power lines and so on are ugly. And so does GODZILLA.




posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 11:05 AM
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a reply to: EternalSolace

My dad retired as an electrical engineer for PG&E, and one of his specialties was planning for underground wiring and making the swap from existing above-ground lines to underground.

What you say is correct--in the long-term, it's cheaper to change to underground lines, but it's the initial cost in transitioning that is a big inhibitor of the process. It's a massive cost and undertaking, but as time goes on, it's getting easier and less invasive to do.

It takes time and money, but will eventually go that way. Saves trees, too.

If you even want to see how old wooden power lines are, though, there's a tag that exists on the pole that you can look at to see how old it is. You'll also notice some bore-hole plugs, too, as they are drilled into at specified intervals to check for rot and termite damage. There should be a date tag associated with the bore holes, too, to indicate when it was checked.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 11:18 AM
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Everyone bringing up the extra cost and time to bury the lines, that's too simple of a comparison. To do a real cost analysis you'd also have to take into account how often you'd have to do this. Obviously every time you have to fix an above-ground line due to storm damage wouldn't mean fixing a buried line every single one of those times. If the underground line needs maintenance/repair less often the cost could balance out.

I'm not saying it would balance out. I'm just pointing out that the data needed to determine if it's economically worth it to bury them is more complicated than just the up front cost.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 11:36 AM
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Lets see here. I need to bury some power lines. First I have to obtain a "right of way" for my route. If nobody complains that should only take six months to a year. If somebody does complain it could take three or four times that. Then I have to get approval from the Local, State and Federal Government. (three to five years there) Then there is the State and Federal Environmental Agencies to deal with. Then I have to show that I'm not endangering the habitat of any tree, shrub, weed, animal, bird or insect. Wait! A guy along the route is filing a lawsuit because he says that he might suffer from the electro-magnetic discharge of the lines. Got that resolved. Wait. Another lawsuit claiming that the underground power lines may contaminate the ground water. Wait. The City wants to know how we will replace the revenue that they receive from Pole Taxes (yes there is such a thing). It goes on and on.

That's why the power lines are still above ground. I worked in Engineering for a telephone company for a few years. I haven't mentioned half of it.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 11:42 AM
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So if they bury all the power lines, you'll be okay with the electrical rate increase, right?



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 01:04 PM
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Here in the UK pretty much most of the cables underground and when things fail its a right royal PITA due to some idiot with a digger arcing their scoop....

Also cable up or down below the ground suffers wear and tear and my mums suffered a few recent outages as he cables are reaching 80-90 years old under the ground.

Anything upto and including the meter is their job so if they need to dig up a 100 yards of pavement then so be it and they have to break out the generators to keep everyone happy.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 01:46 PM
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a reply to: Maxatoria

I did an old electric cable with a digger once, hell of a bang lol
They didn't use cable warning tape back in the day so working on old properties is a game of luck half the time.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 04:05 PM
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This discussion will be a non issue in 10 years when wireless energy comes into effect.



posted on Jul, 23 2018 @ 09:20 PM
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a reply to: EternalSolace

Seriously! I've been wondering that for a while now. Still, there are an awful lot of jobs created by everything needed to maintain those lines. Just recently they sent tree workers to clear branches from around the lines all over my city.

Those workers certainly don't enjoy 16 hour 7 day shifts, but they sure appreciate them!

Still, things would be much more efficient with buried lines.



posted on Jul, 24 2018 @ 02:00 AM
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originally posted by: schuyler
So if they bury all the power lines, you'll be okay with the electrical rate increase, right?


If it means I don't have to replace the hundreds if not thousands of dollars I have stored in food..... yeah.



posted on Jul, 24 2018 @ 05:57 AM
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a reply to: EternalSolace

What will it take?

Well, I would have thought a major loss to the financial sector, stemming from a loss of productivity across the board where the states are concerned, totaling hundreds of billions of dollars in losses, from a single series of related weather events and catastrophes, affecting all electronic communications, energy transmission, and therefore manufacturing productivity as well as the ability of service related industries to perform those services, would be necessary in order to force the cables underground.

Either that, or something very much like the Carrington Event of 1859 a Coronal Mass Ejection event, which caused masses of charged particles to bombard the Earth, at such a rate and volume that they overwhelmed the magnetosphere somewhat, and destroyed large parts of the telegraph system in existence at the time in Canada and Northern America. That would not only see those cables buried, but armoured, along with the rest of the electrical infrastructure, against the possibility of further such disruptions.

In essence, if it is more expensive for the company running the line, to leave it weak and above ground, and it costs THEM, not the consumer to keep having to replace the line, then they will move it underground.



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