Utilities: Sandy spurs calls to bury power lines

Superstorm Sandy’s record blackouts laid bare the U.S. electrical grid’s vulnerability to wind and floods and renewed calls for utilities to invest billions to bury power lines. Sandy cut power to more than 8.5 million homes and businesses across 21 states. Some U.S. utilities have balked at moving more infrastructure underground, arguing it would cost about $2.1 million per mile and mean higher utility bills for consumers. Consolidated Edison, owner of New York City’s utility, says underground power systems are not fail-safe. Exelon’s Baltimore Gas and Electric, however, has already moved more than 60 percent of its system below ground and is stepping up tree-trimming to prevent storm devastation.

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