Jump to content
Fly Tying
Steeldrifter

Living the Amish life

Recommended Posts

Aerial lines don't have to be insulated, that must be a huge factor.  I believe there is power loss with under ground that requires bigger conductors, not sure about that; but if it was feasible financially I'm sure major power suppliers would have gone underground long ago, simply because there is no profit in repairing lines.

You can call electric lines on poles 1800s tech if you want to but much of the country was still without electricity in the mid 1900s, I recall clearly when REA came up our road in '59 and we had one pull chain light in each room and one receptacle with exposed wiring put in, then six months later moved and the new place was not on the grid yet.  1961 was the first year we lived with full electric. And there were still places then that were miles and miles from power lines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Telegraphs.. They were lines on wooden poles and started in the early-mid 1800's. Hence what I said about our power lines on wooden poles being 1800 tech, which is accurate. Running power, phone or any lines up on wooden poles where they are affected by weather, trees, birds/animals, people, is in fact 1800 tech that started with the telegraph system. in 2020 you would think we would have advanced past that or at least started to in many areas.

There are "some" places that do run power underground. My buddy Ron who is a member here that lives in Az has all the power for his whole subdivision coming in from underground. Would be nice if more places did as well. Dealing with outages so often is just absolutely frustrating. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My entire neighborhood is underground. Problem is it has to come up somewhere. I have just as many power outages as ever so it really doesn't make a difference. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure it's far from the end all of the problem, but I would think every section you could get out of the air would at least help some. Our problem here where I am in Michigan is two fold. The grid itself being so old, and that fact that we have so many big trees here. I live in Royal Oak (even named after a tree lol) and just to give you an idea....just the power line that runs across my back yard, one block length, runs through at least 20+ full grown 50-70ft maple trees. We get a bit of wind and we just get screwed :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose every little bit helps but I haven't seen a difference. My area is the same with the newer neighborhoods (mid 70's to present) are all underground. However the parts of town that are above ground are also the older neighborhoods and original area roads that have 100 year old oak trees that are starting to fall. All of our old ash trees are being decimated by the emerald ash beetle and they are coming down as fast as you can cut them up. The ash trees are so bad there are parks and campgrounds that have closed because they can't keep from falling over no matter how fast they try to remove them before they fall. While the close to home power failures are rare our power failures generally last for days because the larger gelectric areas  are going down. It's been a real problem for years. So much so I was goi g to drop 15K on a whole house generator (all electric house)  until I discovered it's cheaper to get a hotel room than running a big generator 24/7. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That damn bug is a big problem. We have the ash beetle problem here too but it's mostly upnorth where my cabin is, and not so much down in the lower part of the state here. Few years back they made a law about transporting wood from place to place and I think that helped to slow the spread at least for the time being.

Yeah the house generators are just insanely expensive, way more than I can afford. I think this winter I may upgrade from my 1800w generator to a bigger 4000w one. At least then I could power a lot more than just my aquariums/pc/tv when the power does go out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can think of several reasons that running power lines underground would be problematic.

  1. Water is a big problem.  Condensation, corrosion, electric conductivity, etc.
  2. Right of way.  Where do you bury the trunk lines?  You have to go deep, and you have to have access.  
  3. If there IS an outage, they might have to excavate large stretches of cable to find it.  That could make one repair even more costly than several aerial repairs.
  4. Danger: People already ignore the "Underground cables: call xxx-xxx-xxxx before digging" signs.  Cutting into a trunk line could be deadly, and possibly highly litigious.  If someone hits an overhead line, they can't say, "I didn't know it was there."  If they hit an underground line, "He thought it was over there! Now who'll take care of me and our 9 babies? Waaaa."
  5. Cost:  The lines are already on the poles.  Replacing them with underground trunk lines would be expensive.  I know, power companies make huge profits, so switching to underground can be paid for ... but you'll likely not get them to admit it.  They aren't hugely profitable because they do what's right all the time.

I'm just playing devil's advocate.  I'd like to see all the lines underground, too.  I'd also like to see city sewage into our neighborhood, but that's also unlikely to happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is something I know a little about because I work as utility engineer (telecom) -  Placing power underground is the way to go when it comes to protecting it from nature and outages.  The major drawback is it's far more expensive per linear foot to install than an aerial cable.  Even with it underground outages will occur just not  as often.  Rodents love to chew on power cables at least until they get through the jacket.  When they can get into them they love to nest in transformers (warm).   Another problem is that decaying organic matter creates a combustible gas which can lead to man hole fires or explosions.  I know this because often our clients fiber optic lines sometimes run through the power man hole system as they are glass and therefore non conductive.  Our linemen and splicers have to respond to the some of same man hole outages as the power crews to repair damage to the lines.  All that said underground power (and telecom) is still much better protected and preferred than aerial cables.  But until Tesla's idea of transmitting power through the air like radio waves becomes a reality there really isn't much that will change because of the significant cost underground lines.  Most power/telecom companies do tree trimming to prevent possible problems but recently some "green" communities are forcing them to bring an arborist along ($$$) before they're allowed to cut anything.  Good until they're the ones without power for a few days in January then they change from green to red. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Underground utilities can be impossible due to the ground. Middle Tennessee, Shelbyville for instance, has rock above the ground. Would have to blast. I have lived in places that had UG utilities and never had any problem. Main problem was a transformer somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think we can have it here due to the water table.  Our leach field is raised about 4 feet higher than the rest of the yard because of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, DFoster said:

Another problem is that decaying organic matter creates a combustible gas which can lead to man hole fires or explosions.

Interesting, I knew underground rodents would be a problem, and high water table, but I never even thought about decaying matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/17/2020 at 8:27 PM, Steeldrifter said:

Interesting, I knew underground rodents would be a problem, and high water table, but I never even thought about decaying matter.

In our state Line crews are required to test the air quality with a meter on a rope at the top, middle and bottom of the man hole before going in.  There are many different gasses that can be created from organic decay and they can be poisonous or explosive or both.  The lineman in the hole has to be tethered with a 5 point harness to a crank / cage which allows the ground man to lift him out if he goes unconscious.  There have been numerous deaths from ground men going into man holes trying to rescue their coworker only to be overcome themselves.  The gas meters our company uses must be calibrated and certified as accurate every 6 months.  With major fines looming if you get caught breaking the rules. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We lost a young fireman about 35 years ago due to lack of oxygen in an enclosed place. Fellow always sat in front of us at church. I'm sure that safeguards are in place to prevent that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DFoster said:

The lineman in the hole has to be tethered with a 5 point harness to a crank / cage which allows the ground man to lift him out if he goes unconscious.  There have been numerous deaths from ground men going into man holes trying to rescue their coworker only to be overcome themselves

That makes sense. There's been different times here where I have seen what looked like a winch near the back of a work truck going straight down a manhole opening and I always wondered what they would be winching in/out of a manhole. That might be what they were doing I bet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The power to our house comes in aboveground through one of our pastures. 

For appearance sake mainly, but also to avoid cutting around the poles, I wanted it moved underground and called the electric company about it. The guy on the phone actually laughed.

He said "We don't do it, but you can, at your expense, but it ain't cheap."

When I asked how "not cheap", he said hold on.

He took a look at our place on a satellite image, measured it, and said, "Oh, looks like about $20,000 should get you there."

Needless to say, the poles are still there...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...