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    Why not bury California’s fire-prone power lines underground? The reason is sky high — $15,000 per Customer



    By Stephen Frank,  California Political News and Views

    Want to stop electric grid caused forest fires?  The first step, and cheapest, would be for government to allow the clean up of dead bushes and trees in the forests, along with clear cutting of areas to assure fires do not spread.  Or government can mandate that EACH energy company customer pay $15,000 (not a typo) to bury the electric line poles.  Another way to bankrupt Californians and forced the middle class out of State.

    “It costs about $3 million per mile to convert underground electric distribution lines from overhead, while the cost to build a mile of new overhead line is less than a third of that, at approximately $800,000 per mile, according to a section on PG&E’s website called Facts About Undergrounding Power Lines.

    California has 25,526 miles of higher voltage transmission lines, and 239,557 miles of distribution lines, two-thirds of which are overhead, according to CPUC. Less than 100 miles per year are transitioned underground, meaning it would take more than 1,000 years to underground all the lines at the current rate.

    $15,000 for every PG&E customer?”

    Now, lets get real—clean the forests.  What are they waiting for?  Fires, bankruptcy, socialism?

    Related article: Why not bury California’s fire-prone power lines underground? The reason is sky high

    Stephen Frank: Is the the publisher and editor of the California Political News and Views.  Mr. Frank speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows and is a full time political consultant.

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    c e voigtsberger
    c e voigtsberger
    3 years ago

    Rather than positing some figure probably furnished by a talking head for one or more of the electric providers in the state, it would be a more meaningful opinion piece if Mr. Frank also included some actual figures for the $15,000 per unit and $3 million a mile.

    The conclusion I come to is that is an aggregate figure for all areas of the state, including putting utilities underground in downtown San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles City as well as rural areas where there are limited improvements.

    I suspect the figure is much cheaper if one is talking about a semi-rural area such as Telegraph Road between the SoCal Edison building and Santa Paula city limits or alongside the right of way of Highway 126.

    While there certainly is danger in overhead line snapping in high winds along, say, Loma Vista by the college, the danger is not nearly so high of a conflagration such as the Thomas Fire. If my idea of where the Thomas Fire started, it was in just such an unimproved area. Gee, just think how much money would have been saved if the electric lines that started the Thomas Fire had been underground. Sounds like a worthwhile investment to me.

    There are literally thousands of miles of electric lines in unimproved areas that should be addressed before ripping up the streets in downtown Ventura to put in underground utilities.

    Our tract had underground utilities installed in 1967 when it was built. I am confident if it cost the 1967 equivalent of $15,000 per unit to install underground utilities they would have never been installed.

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