Submitted by schillerstone t3_11rywe7 in newhampshire

Plus, adding in the productivity lost by losing electricity is more than enough justification to bury lines. This has been done for decades in more sophisticated countries, and even municipalities in the USA.

Wind damage will only INCREASE thanks to climate change.

Please remember this when this topic is debated and special interests insist it is too expensive.

Edited to include the fact that "For large companies, the cost of an outage can escalate into the millions of dollars per hour of downtime. In fact, the DoE recently estimated that outages are costing the U.S. economy $150 billion annually."




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BackItUpWithLinks t1_jcauqsw wrote

Burying lines is stupid expensive.

Yes, more expensive than sending crews out to fix downed lines.


PM_Georgia_Okeefe t1_jcb5ltg wrote

Not only for the labor to do it, but it's my understanding that you need to push more electricity through buried cables as they don't carry as far.


DohBilly t1_jcbttrv wrote

I’m not an expert but that just doesn’t sound right. Assuming the cables they use above ground would be the same as the ones for buried lines, and why wouldn’t they be, the cables will “carry” just as far


RelationshipJust9556 t1_jcckesy wrote

They are very much different. the cables on poles wouldn't last a year in the ground, cold, moisture, corrosion (like 8 types of it)

Those pipes will never bee leak proof so conduits with water in them is common and expected.


SO i see a dieefernt current/voltage/amperage would be needed and the runs can't be overly long.


PM_Georgia_Okeefe t1_jcbvf3g wrote

I'm not an expert either, but this Wikipedia article touches on the point of how underground cable length is affected by... stuff.

My background is in software development and sales. Electricity is pretty much magic to me.


DohBilly t1_jcc7k5f wrote

I looked into it a little more and it appears you’re right. I’m a physics major graduating in May and I would say despite taking 2 semesters of electricity and magnetism, electricity is also magic to me.


Azr431 t1_jcc34bz wrote

Also, these operating costs are most likely booked as annual accruals, whereas burying lines would have enormous up-front capital costs. In a capitalist environment, nobody wants to load that kind of debt


PissTapeExpert t1_jcc5ugi wrote

You're wrong. My wife develops housing communities across the country and has to deal with this all the time, but instead of anecdotal evidence let me post directly from FEMAs own site.

"Installing underground lines costs more initially than overhead lines, but the underground lines are less prone to damage and disruptions, and maintenance is less expensive."


RelationshipJust9556 t1_jccl4wi wrote

Tell that to the homeowner that had his lawn ripped up 4x to fix 4 different main line faults before grid replaced the entire run. ripping up his lawn a 5th


Icy-Neck-2422 t1_jcax08l wrote

It's astoundingly cheaper than burying lines.


schillerstone OP t1_jcax6xw wrote

Prove it


A_Man_Who_Writes t1_jcaxyr3 wrote

How can you imagine otherwise? They already have the tools and personnel to fix outages and trim trees. How much more do you think they would need to bury lines all over a mostly rural state that’s mostly made out of rock? It would be astronomically expensive.


schillerstone OP t1_jcaygie wrote

With that attitude, we'd never have running water. Power is an essential utility and should be buried. Period.

Would you like your water lines above ground because it's too expensive to bury? Think about all of the expensive things we've accomplished.

But also, look at my updated post with the economic implications of power outages. Big picture here. It's safer and cheaper for the one time expense of burying them.


vexingsilence t1_jcb433u wrote

Water lines can't be above ground, they'd freeze. They also aren't present throughout the state. Plenty of people are still on well water because it's financially prohibitive to run pipes beyond a certain population density. Same deal with natural gas. Same deal with sewage, low density areas use septic systems.


Shadeddragonman t1_jcbe73e wrote

Buried lines fault. There are many 100 year old lines running around still working just fine. Haven’t found a 30 year old run that’s hasn’t have had work done on it.


vexingsilence t1_jcbhohs wrote

There was a time when Boston was having serious problems with manhole covers and other metal plates getting electrified. It does introduce new problems that above-ground lines don't tend to have. A downed line from a pole is easy to see. A fault underground, not so much.


schillerstone OP t1_jcayott wrote

Unless you can give me a comprehensive cost comparison of business as usual compared to safeguarding the grid, your comments are purely assumptions and protecting the status quo


A_Man_Who_Writes t1_jcaz6oj wrote

That’s true. I relent. There’s no way society will progress unless we’re willing to make massive initial changes in infrastructure (not sarcasm).


schillerstone OP t1_jcb2tqj wrote

Woah. this truce is exciting

Don't mind me being all heated , I just hate watching America's downfall. I work now work at a very prosperous institution who is investing TONs of money and time into climate change "resiliency" which includes infrastructure changes to protect the grid (this institute is including plans to help the local people during disasters as well).

My Ted Talk Regarding the OT issue. I am for the working man which means that I don't think people should need to work OT for 36 hours straight to be prosperous. Imagine a time when we are proactive and not reactive, people make enough money to not work the equivalent of two jobs, and instead, spend time with family.

The mini pandemic baby boom is due to people being home and not working themselves to death, as has been the norm. Prosperous people have their needs met plus time and money to recreate after just one job. Eversource shareholders must make a minimum of 13% return on investment. Imagine if that money instead went to non executive workers and to safeguard our grid. Close Ted Talk.


ZacPetkanas t1_jcb1u5t wrote

> Unless you can give me a comprehensive cost comparison of business as usual compared to safeguarding the grid, your comments are purely assumptions and protecting the status quo

As are yours suggesting that burying lines would be cheaper. Shouldn't you have to provide said same?


schillerstone OP t1_jcbd9eg wrote

No because I know for a fact that burying lines is done all over the world. This means that other people did the analysis and determined it was worth the money.

economic theory measure activities by total value, not absolute dollars. The value of a stable electricity grid, especially considering climate change resiliency, outweighs the lazy status quo and shareholder return that prevents this system upgrade.


ZacPetkanas t1_jcbet46 wrote

> No because I know for a fact that burying lines is done all over the world. This means that other people did the analysis and determined it was worth the money.

Burying lines in Demark (for example) is a whole different kettle of fish than NH. Be specific and back up your assertion that it would be cost effective in NH to bury lines though ledge, etc.

> economic theory measure activities by total value, not absolute dollars.

What's the unit of measurement? Kilograms, gallons, yards?


schillerstone OP t1_jcbg80g wrote

I took a graduate level economic course in the spring of 2022 and I was shocked to learn how economic theory works. It's not what you think. Example, I put a car worth 12k on sale for 15k. You buy the car for 16k, who loses ? The car is worth 16k and you don't lose because you wanted to pay that much and so 16k is how much the car is worth to you.

The economic analysis of the value of buried lines would include the value of ALL the activity that relies upon electricity and is lost when it goes out. Materials and labor are not the only measure.


ZacPetkanas t1_jcbh8lu wrote

And that's measured in......?

Finally, show your economic analysis that it would be cheaper to move lines underground, and maintain them underground as well. Don't forget the costs of diverting traffic as the linemen are working through the road surface as well as the extra costs of paving the roads because now the road crew must work around the manholes, etc.

You've posted on this thread about your feelings and demanded that other people provide you with facts counter to your feelings. Perhaps you should first provide the facts, no?


schillerstone OP t1_jcbjtqj wrote

Did you see my edited link above that outages are costing the us economy $150 BILLION a year.

What is the value of a life lost because of failed oxygen machines ? Would your opinion change if we had wind storms monthly? Wind is speeding up and will continue to.

Ironically, cutting trees can mess up wind patterns and cause micro bursts.

Curing cancer costs a lot too but no one is giving up


ZacPetkanas t1_jcbkft2 wrote

> Did you see my edited link above that outages are costing the us economy $150 BILLION a year. > >

NH. This is a NH subreddit.

So that's a "no" then. You have nothing but your opinion on the subject. And that's fine, but in my opinion you shouldn't go around demanding detailed numbers from other people when you've got jack squat.

I'm all in favor of discussing the pros and cons of your suggestion but you've got nothing to discuss, just your opinion on the matter.


vexingsilence t1_jcb31sf wrote

>As someone who works in the industry, it gets old hearing that we should just bury the lines. This works in dense areas, but for rural areas (like the vast majority of NH) it is extremely cost prohibitive. Installing buried conduit, manholes, transformer foundations, etc. is often upwards of $200-$300 per FOOT of buried conduit. Even more expensive if it has to be concrete-encased, or God forbid there is ledge (rock) in the way that needs to be hammered out (btw this is New Hampshire, the Granite State, there is ledge absolutely EVERYWHERE). And that doesn't even include the cost of installing (pulling, splicing) the actual cables and transformers themselves.

From /u/vwturbo in this thread:


schillerstone OP t1_jcb3v5b wrote

Thanks for the details but I am not moved. People literally build homes into blasted ledge everyday. We drill water wells through ledge. We drill for oil and gas everywhere. We mine for metal ores, which is also rock. I mean, what a lame excuse. I think all of the people talking about ledge just remember the times when they personally cannot move something from their yard. We have heavy equipment, sonics drills, and dynamite. This is nothing new.

With your attitude, we'd never have had fiber optic cables, city sewer and water, oil and gas pipelines, etc.


vexingsilence t1_jcb567r wrote

>With your attitude, we'd never have had fiber optic cables, city sewer and water, oil and gas pipelines, etc.

As a state, we do not have those things. Water, sewage, and gas tend to only be available in parts of the state that have the density to make it cost effective to bury those things. Otherwise you have well, a septic system, and either heating oil or propane.

Fiber rollout has been slower in areas with buried utilities. It takes more time to install than simply running them on poles. The funny part is that once you reach a high enough density, there aren't many trees left to fall on the lines.


jlangemann-man t1_jcbma88 wrote

I have to ask, have you been to areas of the state (such as Newcaste Island) where the water pipes are above ground, on the surface, because it is too prohibitive for many of the reasons listed above to have them below ground, like you see them in other areas?


Shadeddragonman t1_jcbfvo0 wrote

Yes they do and they pay a pretty penny to do so. As for mining ore that is done for profit. No profit in ledge

Yes we can it just costs money. Last time a heard a study about it 10 years or so. Would cost every man woman and child in nh 36000 to do it.


thamurse t1_jcief8i wrote

usually the burden of proof is on the person making the initial claim/point....


Selfless- t1_jcayfrw wrote

Why are you targeting the lines when it’s obviously the trees fault? Support Big Lumber!


Reddit_in_her_voice t1_jccuekp wrote

The profit seeking capitalists you hate over at eversource would do it if it was cheaper you dunce


AcolyteOfTheHand t1_jcb6zln wrote

Between being the granite state and the massive frost heave we get it wouldn't be cheap or easy. On average, above ground lines cost between $200k and $500k, while underground can cost $1M - $5M per mile. We have about 20k miles of power lines. So on the low end you are looking at $20B to bury them. Underground power lines are also more complicated and still require a significant amount of costly maintenance and repairs.

This paper is a bit old, but still accurate for the most part if you want to read up on underground lines.


movdqa t1_jcavfeo wrote

Our place has buried utilities and it's been great for grid reliability. These places were fairly cheap when built too. I guess it's easy if you're building a development from scratch but retrofitting neighborhoods is a real pain. Although I imagine that it cost Comcast a lot of money when they went to fiber. They had to dig up the roads here to install fiber to the boxes which were then coax to the homes.


NHGuy t1_jcbsyuy wrote

It's cost prohibitive - after the 2009 ice storm, where 400,00 NH residents lost power, WMUR did a short story on burying lines. Back then the cost was about $17 billion.

" up from the ice storm cost the utilities about $80 million, enough to bury about 100 miles of line. It would take the cost of the damage from 90 similar ice storms to pay for burying half of the state's power lines."


schillerstone OP t1_jcbv9a3 wrote

This context is super helpful to know what they are saying , they being "utility officials'" . Such a study needs to be completed by a neutral public policy think tank.

"utility officials said it probably doesn't make sense to bury them to try to prevent power outages."

Key word here is "probably "

If 400k residents lost power, and their trouble was worth $100 a day, there you have 40milliion dollars. Airlines get penalized for late flights. The math changes depending on what they measured.example: public policy demanding customer rebates by outage day would change the math.


schillerstone OP t1_jcbvnrq wrote

This context is super helpful to know what they are saying , they being "utility officials'" . Such a study needs to be completed by a neutral public policy think tank.

"utility officials said it probably doesn't make sense to bury them to try to prevent power outages."

Key word here is "probably "

If 400k residents lost power, and their trouble was worth $100 a day, there you have 40milliion dollars. Airlines get penalized for late flights. The math changes depending on what they measured.example: public policy demanding customer rebates by outage day would change the math.


NHGuy t1_jcbwdf8 wrote

PUBLIC utilities are beholden to the state on behalf of the public. They know what their costs are. Who is going to pay for this study?

Let's say that they are off by half. That's still $8 or 9 BILLION dollars. Who do you think is going to foot the bill for this?

I'm a born skeptic and a cynic, but at some point it's just plain silly


schillerstone OP t1_jcbx0yt wrote

As we speak, the DOT is pushing an obscene amount of federal dollars down to NH munis for multimillion dollar bike lanes. There's plenty of money.

The new pentagon budget is 842 billion. Let's start there.


NHGuy t1_jcbxiyx wrote

It's easy to speculate and blow steam on Reddit


schillerstone OP t1_jcbxzcy wrote

BTW, we are the public that the utilities are beholden too so let's keep talking


beagletronic61 t1_jcavlst wrote

What special interests are opposing burying power lines? Is there a “Big Power Pole” lobby?


vexingsilence t1_jcawd7n wrote

No, it's people that realize that the costs of burying lines all over the granite state would be insanely expensive compared to dealing with occasional storm damage. Buried lines only make sense in dense areas where the cost per subscriber in burying the utilities makes sense.


PM_Georgia_Okeefe t1_jcb5rma wrote

Forget special interests: it should be the consumer that opposes it.

Running/fixing overhead lines works out to roughly $70-80 per foot. Buried lines cost $750/foot, plus costs of new switches and transformers.


schillerstone OP t1_jcaw5jq wrote

Well,for one, the unions. There is a lot of money to be made in disaster response.

Second, people who just hate change and are stubborn as fuck, convinced " it it ain't broke" and then downplay the seriousness of storm outages. AND then undervalue the priceless ness of investing for a reliable and foolproof grid.


GraniteGeekNH t1_jcbw68x wrote

Do you have the slightest evidence for this claim that there is any union opposing the burying of power lines?

Of course you don't. You made it up: you guessed that it was probably true and then stated it as a fact because like many people you've been warped by unions-are-bad mantra pushed by those who make more money when unions are weak.


slimyprincelimey t1_jcbgxbr wrote

You know unions would probably love a multi billion dollar project to dig trenches on every corner of the state, right?


schillerstone OP t1_jcbkedh wrote

Not if they don't personally have the skill set. Upskilling is a not thing unions love to do.


slimyprincelimey t1_jcc9pkl wrote

You don't think construction or electrician unions have the skillset to dig trenches and lay wire?


beagletronic61 t1_jccer8l wrote

Now you are putting words in his mouth…granted, they are words he said and this is exactly what he meant by them but where do you get off making an observation?!


RelationshipJust9556 t1_jccm9r2 wrote

no they don't, not saying they couldn't learn, they would much rather sit in their trucks watching over the ditch diggers, then work on the lines. wich is what they do now.


schillerstone OP t1_jccn6h0 wrote

Slimy, maybe?? I am recalling all the heating and air conditioning technicians who refused my calls to quote on installing a heat pump. I mean, it's heating but different, sooo...signs point to an indifference to learning something different


beagletronic61 t1_jcc6gn3 wrote

If we could award a contract for “UpTROLLing”, I think you’d get it, no-bid.

You were temporarily inconvenienced by the storm and now think that it’s because of unions.


interweb_gangsta t1_jcbyant wrote

I don't know how much tree trimming and storm response costs but burying stuff in NH costs as if everything is made out of gold. For example I wanted to switch from a well to city water and 150 feet of public road digging and fixing + 200 feet of digging on my land would have cost me close to $80,000!!!

So burying electrical lines everywhere would have to cost millions and millions.


futureygoodness t1_jcaxh7a wrote

A shame the state/power companies didn’t load up on super cheap long term debt when interest rates were zero to finance doing something like this with long term value when they had the chance.


travel_tech t1_jcb28ab wrote

Corporations operate based on short term profits. If you make expensive up front investments, then the corporation has lower profits that quarter, and the executives get smaller bonuses. The way it's run now is making them money and will continue to do so, they have no real incentive to change.


ReauxChambeaux t1_jcb2kg1 wrote

Forget about burying lines, it’s the granite state for god’s sake. What we should do is just clear cut 50’ on each side of the power lines and let people like me collect the wood for our stoves. Win win


schillerstone OP t1_jcb37s1 wrote

They built miles long roads through the alps. We've gone to the moon. Burying power lines is not that hard.


ReauxChambeaux t1_jcb489o wrote

I understand. I was being a little sarcastic. I don’t really want to clear cut NH


Shadeddragonman t1_jcbgy1s wrote

Tell that to breezeline. Spent over 2 years and haven’t been able to bury new fiber through out dovers existing buried neighborhoods. Never mind the entire city.


NewPhoenix77 t1_jcb7an6 wrote

Apparently digging up roads and neighborhoods across America doesn’t cause extreme downtime and cost billions of dollars.


Pbtflakes t1_jcbm0zm wrote

Dig down six inches, hit solid granite ledge, and come back here.


zrad603 t1_jcbpzpj wrote

We live in the GRANITE STATE.


zrad603 t1_jcbzmvd wrote

Go rent an excavator for a day, dig a hole in your yard. Then you'll know.


tomsbradys t1_jccmwm9 wrote

Because all the old new Englanders are on fixed incomes. Nobody can afford to fund public schools in rural parts of this state. Quite frankly nobody wants to pay for anything we like it the way it’s always been. Progress is a woke liberal idea. Lol


schillerstone OP t1_jcbcrwp wrote

99% percent of NH will be restored by 6pm FRIDAY. (Source , Eversource text alert).

Hospitals and healthcare are expensive too. Society does expensive and hard things every single day because the right thing to do isn't always the easiest.


AcolyteOfTheHand t1_jcbl59p wrote

Ok, so what income tax rate would you be ok with NH adopting? It would cost at minimum 20x the state's annual tax revenue so there would need to be additional sources of income to pay for it.


hucknuts t1_jcbh89b wrote

Just buy a generac if it bothers you so much


schillerstone OP t1_jcbk9n3 wrote

I have a generator and propane fireplace stove. I am looking at my town opening warming centers and all the people stressing on FB.

I care about more than just myself


smartest_kobold t1_jcbuo8y wrote

Things with upfront costs and only long term benefits are basically impossible with things the way they're set up now.


warpedaeroplane t1_jcay5lx wrote

It’s too little too late to bury most lines now. The disturbances caused by the switch and the cost make it a non-starter. It’s also by design. Guys get a lot more overtime in a year if they’re out fixing the lines all the time.


schillerstone OP t1_jcayri9 wrote



beagletronic61 t1_jcbd93g wrote

If “massive overtime conspiracy” is your foothold in this or any argument, you should also consider that you may just be wrong and run that out a little also. Yes, the grid as it exists requires more maintenance than one that is subterranean but that doesn’t implicate the workers in a lobbying/conspiracy/scheme.

Did you lose power yesterday?


lantonas t1_jcbf5ap wrote

Clearly the power companies don't want to bury line because they love paying workers overtime.

That make so much sense!


schillerstone OP t1_jcbe1mk wrote

Yes I lost power

My opinion on the "conspiracy" as you call it is based on:

My friend's husband who got a job at Eversource and was second to the driver. He had to ride around all day as the driver shopped and did just about anything other than work. EVERY SINGLE DAY

Second, I personally attended a standing room only rate increase hearing which gave people an opportunity to speak about how they would be greatly negatively affected by the changes. I was in the hall nearby the company union stewards who were all suited up and snickering and laughing openly at all the public speakers. Low class and clearly lobbying on the side of raping the public.

So , yeah. It's not so much a conspiracy as robbery in public view .


beagletronic61 t1_jcbh8jy wrote

What’s the projected cost of this proposal to bury all the power lines in NH?


schillerstone OP t1_jcbjz7p wrote

We don't know, do we? We don't know because it costs too much to study it. Lol


schillerstone OP t1_jcbf5zw wrote

... but all that said, my main concern is the grid and the people facing hardship without electricity (elderly, sick, parents, single people without resources). If OT wasn't a thing because it wasn't needed, there couldn't be abuse of it.

Listen, I am not a hater of working people. Corporate welfare and executive malfeasance (latest banking collapse for example!) Are a much bigger concern of mine. I brought up the OT issue because people in general think it's a wonderful thing to pay people overtime. I think it's a better idea to raise worker pay and let people live stable lives amidst a energy grid with buries lines ☺️


schillerstone OP t1_jccncsw wrote

Also, the Fn lines are ugly and they ruin some of the best views everywhere.