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Underground power not a panacea

Mary Staggs East Lyme

Publication: The Day

Published 11/18/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 11/16/2012 05:25 PM

Our neighborhood in East Lyme has underground wiring and beautiful tree lined streets with sections of undeveloped woods.

Our electrical feed is dependent on sources outside our neighborhood. During Irene our seven-day outage was the result of a downed tree more than two miles away.

On the sixth day of the Sandy outage, trucks arrived at the end our street. Instead of a cherry picker to access pole tops, there was a backhoe on a trailer.

It's not clear where the service was interrupted, but we were about the last section to have restored power.

Three years ago there was a street outage and the backhoe was needed. It was a time-consuming repair and not a pretty sight.

The bottom line is that we are no better off than "poled" streets. I would encourage utilities' executives to focus on upgrading existing systems. I don't believe that all the outages in the state were a result of downed trees.

We love our tree-lined streets and open views of the sky, and I would support new neighborhoods in installing underground wiring, but don't be fooled into thinking that you will have fewer outages and better service.

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