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Burying PG&E’s Lines to Stop Fires Could Cost $240 Billion

  • New study weighs pros, cons of microgrids, underground lines
  • State takeover a cheaper option but may not stop fires
Electrical power polls stand outside of Novato, California.

Electrical power polls stand outside of Novato, California.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Some of the most widely discussed ways to prevent the massive fires and blackouts that plague California may also be the most expensive, according to BloombergNEF.

For instance, burying all 81,000 miles (130,000 kilometers) of PG&E Corp.’s electrical distribution lines so they won’t spark blazes during windstorms could cost more than $240 billion, a BNEF study found. That’s based on a PG&E estimate that moving existing lines underground costs $3 million per mile.