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(WTOP)   As thousands in Maryland enter their second week without power, energy company PEPCO just goes ahead and admits that people need to call "at least three or four times a day to report outages" if they're ever going to get attention   (wtop.com) divider line 153
    More: Stupid, Pepco, severe storm, Dominion, sun outage, energy industry, power outages, Prince George's  
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5367 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Jul 2012 at 4:50 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-05 06:10:11 PM
I'm in Baltimore and we are having another violent storm right now. WInd, rain, hail.
 
2012-07-05 06:13:44 PM

vernonFL: I'm in Baltimore and we are having another violent storm right now. WInd, rain, hail.


It ain't showin' up on radar within the Baltimore Beltway. Up north of Towson, yeah. Don't see it anywhere near the city.
 
2012-07-05 06:17:39 PM

mcreadyblue: rugman11: CSB time:

In Texas, the power delivery company has teams constantly driving around giving haircuts to trees.


Also it sounds like this tree was on the power company's easement which makes it their tree.
 
2012-07-05 06:19:13 PM

RandomRandom: max_pooper: Either way, getting cables underground is much more expensive that stringing them on pole overhead.

Sure, it costs the power company more, but what about the costs to the overall economy?

Power companies are regulated monopolies. Their responsibility isn't just to their shareholders, they also have a legally mandated responsibility to their customers.

Underground power lines are certainly not the best use of resources in every area, but in regions that suffer frequent severe storms and have lots of trees, underground lines could save the economy a great deal of money.

The power companies probably won't take on these kinds of costly upgrades unless forced. Given that they're regulated monopolies, it's time for the regulation boards to do their job and start mandating a long term plan for underground lines.


Then you run into another problem. As soon as the power comes back on and normality is restored, people forget the problem. Get the power back on, and I guarantee you, none of the people even in the affected areas clamoring for buried power lines will be willing to pony up the money needed to actually do it. And the ones who might be will howl the loudest when the company comes and says "We're going to have to dig up YOUR yard and block YOUR driveway for three weeks while we bury the power lines."

Reason I say this is, after the 1992 L.A. riots, people were SCREAMING for more police, better protection, etc. The mayor and Chief Williams put together a tax proposal that would have raised sales tax in LA by some small amount, with the income already spent (on paper) to hire, train and equip 1000 more cops. The referendum was soundly defeated in November--less than 6 months later--by the same people who were blasting the cops for their lack of action during the riots.

So nobody is going to agree to an increase in taxes, or their rates, or a temporary inconvenience, just to bury the power lines. Let the power company figure it out on their own!
 
2012-07-05 06:19:39 PM

Posh Naranek: mcreadyblue: rugman11: CSB time:

In Texas, the power delivery company has teams constantly driving around giving haircuts to trees.

Also it sounds like this tree was on the power company's easement which makes it their tree.


I'm an ignorant boob, rugman11 answered this already. Anyway like you said usually the power company will eat your trees if they even threaten their lines.
 
2012-07-05 06:20:17 PM
I am suprised I have only heard of one genenrator related death. Dumbasses put it in their basement.
 
2012-07-05 06:24:22 PM

SurfaceTension: Dominion Power FTW (relatively speaking)


What a work crew for Dominion Power may look like:

www.geeksofdoom.com
 
2012-07-05 06:28:04 PM
Hmm..instead of calling six times a day, just find out where the execs of the company live, invade their houses, and enjoy the fresh central air, as I'm sure they are doing atm. Perhaps that would get your power on faster.
 
2012-07-05 06:30:28 PM
Where i live, (rural) if a big storm comes up..it's almost guaranteed that you are going to lose power. For at least a day or longer. One power line for the whole town. Idiocy.
 
2012-07-05 06:37:58 PM

jigger: The FiOS lines around me are up on poles like the power lines.


As are mine.

1,000 yards away, in my old neighborhood, everything is underground. FiOS, power, phone, all of it. No poles in sight.
During Isabel, that was one of the very few areas within miles that still had power.
 
2012-07-05 06:39:08 PM
The heat is pretty bad. You adjust pretty quickly though. Things get really tough when you run out of food and gas.
 
2012-07-05 06:40:12 PM

Walker: CPT Ethanolic: PEPCO is one of the worst companies I've ever dealt with. We used to have 4-5 days of outages every summer.

Did you hear about the 15-year-old boy on a bike who was almost beheaded by a downed power line draped across the street? When his father called PEPCO they said they couldn't do anything unless he gave them the account number of the person who lives closest to the downed line. How would he know this information? He then found out the downed wire had been reported to PEPCO on Saturday and the ticket had been closed out on Monday, without a repair. To add insult to injury PEPCO then told him to get a lawyer if he didn't like their response. Worst. Electric Company. EVER!

/Thank God my lines are buried....and I don't live in Maryland.


IIRC Pepco has been rated the worst company in America. Not just among power companies. Not worst local company. Worst company in America, period.
 
2012-07-05 06:44:58 PM

RoxtarRyan: Oh, god no... I think a person might need a bit more than 4kW to go off grid.. maybe 10kW to be safe, in case of power spikes. Not only that, but the consumption rate of about 5 gallons of propane every hour for about 6kW, you'd be out of 50 gallons of propane in 10 hours.. I use about 50 gallons every 5 months for hot water and stove use. Here in CT, with 50 gallons going for about $230 or so, it would cost WAY too much to get off the grid using propane generators.


You could probably swing it off-grid with 4 kW if you're careful about what you run and when. Right now in the Chicago area, it's 100 out, and this house has two fairly modest window A/C units cooling the first floor, two CRT TV sets (one monster 32" and one tabletop set), a gas dryer, a fridge, and several computers running, and based on my timing the spinning disc in the meter, we're using about 4.4 kW. The house is a well-insulated two-story farmhouse with about 1600 sq. ft. of floor space.

On the other hand, if you have a McMansion with central air, you'll probably need quite a bit more generating capacity.
 
2012-07-05 06:46:43 PM
If you guys would learn to drive better, God wouldn't smite you with as many trees and power lines blocking the roads.
 
2012-07-05 06:49:01 PM

max_pooper: Rerouting existing power lines underground would be ridiculously expensive. In an average neighborhood I would guess between $10,000-$20,000 per house.

Trenches need to be dug so the cable can be laid, that means ripping up whatever is on that land and replacing it: streets, driveways, sidewalks, fences ect. Then all new transformers need to be installed, pole mounted transformers cannot be mounted on the ground. Then all new drops need to be installed from the new ground mounted transformer to each customer. That means more tearing up yards, sidewalk, driveways, pools, basement walls ect. Once the new lines are up and running and every customer has been reconnected to the new underground grid the existing overhead grid needs to be removed.

Also the wire used for underground is much more expensive that what is used for overhear. The overhead wires are bare aluminum, no insulation. Underground wire needs to be insulated with very tough coatings. The wire also needs to be bigger. Uninsulated wired installed overheard dissipates heat much better than wire insulated with rubber and dirt. Underground lines need to be larger in diameter.

Anyone who whines that the power company won't bury electrical lines is an uninformed idiot.


Add to this that people will complain, threaten to sue, collect signatures, anything, to stop such things because they don't want their yard torn up. A couple weeks ago there was an extended power outage in a well-off neighborhood up the street from mine (caused by trees) and the neighbors started raging at the power company when they started trimming the trees. They rage at the power being out while simultaneously raging about the trees being trimmed to fix (and prevent) it.
 
2012-07-05 06:52:28 PM

Fubegra: On the other hand, if you have a McMansion with central air, you'll probably need quite a bit more generating capacity.


I have a secret laboratory that has high power demands. Those clones of me aren't nearly ready to be removed from their life support.
 
2012-07-05 06:55:14 PM
There is gonna be a slew of used generators for sale in the next few months.

Be a great time to pick up a slightly used 5 kw unit with electric start on the cheap.
 
2012-07-05 06:55:45 PM
i'm in the area, don't have pepco, and power didn't go out at all. this isn't a storm related problem. it's a greedy sack of shiat who needed a new yacht problem.
 
2012-07-05 07:02:10 PM
Oh goodness...those poor people. We had an ice storm in my neck of the woods once and it was kinda fun, actually. Grilling in the snow, huddled around the wood stove at night with candles, etc. No a/c, no fridge and a houseful of pissed off hot people and animals sounds like torture. :(
 
2012-07-05 07:02:42 PM
Link to the Pepco investigation

FTLink: "From Cheh's perspective, Pepco lagged behind in preparing for the storm, especially relative to fellow power companies Dominion Virginia Power and Baltimore Gas and Electric. All three companies, per standard procedure, marshaled out-of-town repair crews, but Pepco has been trailing in getting its customers back online. Dominion, which saw nearly 1 million customers lose power on Friday night, had restored 86 percent by 10 a.m. Tuesday, while BG&E has repaired lines serving 527,000 out of about 680,000 affected customers. Meanwhile, about 101,000 Pepco customers in D.C. and Maryland, or about 23 percent of the 443,000 who went dark, are still waiting to have their lights turned back on.

With Pepco, it could be a matter of manpower. OurDC, a labor group, told DCist in an email that the utility has cut 40 percent of its workforce over the past decade."


nice to see energy companies trying their damndest to throw us into third world status.
 
2012-07-05 07:03:23 PM
images.all-free-download.com
 
2012-07-05 07:08:59 PM

chaosweaver: That being said, not every company has one of those awesome toys, I imagine.


Buy them before you put in any new housing.
Sell them when you are done.
 
2012-07-05 07:31:09 PM

rugman11: Ima_Lurker: trees from around the power lines. Not unusual around here to see the trees growing through the power lines.

/or is it the power lines going through the trees?

CSB time:

My parents had a tree in their backyard that grew to hang over some power lines. The tree died and started to split down the middle. It was a matter of years, maybe months, until the branch hanging over the power lines broke off and took out the lines and my parents' deck. They called up the power company to see if they'd be willing to split the cost of taking down the tree in order to save their lines. No dice. The company would pay to replace the lines if the tree went down, but they wouldn't pay to have it preemptively taken down.

My guess is that it was because they had insurance that would cover the line replacement in case of a natural disaster (or a tree falling). Either way, it worked out for them since my parents ended up paying to have the tree removed anyway.


Wow I feel really lucky to have such reliable power! We live in the midwest- there are a lot of tornados and very windy thunderstorms. Much worse for the power lines is when we get an ice storm. The lines at my house re buried and we have never lost power (not even on extremely hot high-use days which has happened to me before). The lines at my parent's house in a rural area are above ground and even if a tree does go down on a line they always fix it in an hour or so.

Here the electric company trims your trees if you like it or not. If you prefer to have your tree cut completely down instead of hacked up they will do that too and will even give you new trees (variety of choices). We have an electric co-op so maybe they are a little less motivated by profit?

Also- I don't think that in all cases people are just being 'whiny' about things taking too long to get fixed. Some of the worst natural disasters are extremely hot times when the power goes out. A lot of older people die, it is pretty sad. Obviously the company can work only so fast though...
 
2012-07-05 07:56:15 PM
Dominion just got my power back yesterday. I was pleased it was that soon.

My neighbor's tree fell on the line (and my fence) - they had to cut my line to restore it to the rest of the block the day before and told me it might be a while before I got my power back. I felt very fortunate I only had to wait until yesterday. My entire neighborhood was dark until Monday night.

/The only irritation for me is that the neighbor whose tree fell on my line had power back a day before me
//And he hasn't yet offered to pay for the fence
 
2012-07-05 08:09:53 PM

Gyrfalcon: Then you run into another problem. As soon as the power comes back on and normality is restored, people forget the problem.


Yeah, there is this. After a while you stop feeling sorry for entitled idiots.

When I say the lines should be buried, it's a principle thing. Which isn't always compatible with reality.
 
2012-07-05 08:13:22 PM

spidermilk: I don't think that in all cases people are just being 'whiny' about things taking too long to get fixed.


I remember a few years back my power went out when a transformer blew up. I actually saw the glow, was out on my deck when I saw a flash of lightning and then a lingering glow near the ground. Sure enough the power went out. About six hours later the power was back on. And this was a big transformer at a step down station that went out. Power companies can fix major problems quickly when they ave the manpower and get their butts to it. So when people don't get their power back for over a week, yeah I'd say they're entirely justified to biatch all they want.
 
2012-07-05 08:29:57 PM

max_pooper: Rerouting existing power lines underground would be ridiculously expensive. In an average neighborhood I would guess between $10,000-$20,000 per house.

Trenches need to be dug so the cable can be laid, that means ripping up whatever is on that land and replacing it: streets, driveways, sidewalks, fences ect. Then all new transformers need to be installed, pole mounted transformers cannot be mounted on the ground. Then all new drops need to be installed from the new ground mounted transformer to each customer. That means more tearing up yards, sidewalk, driveways, pools, basement walls ect. Once the new lines are up and running and every customer has been reconnected to the new underground grid the existing overhead grid needs to be removed.

Also the wire used for underground is much more expensive that what is used for overhear. The overhead wires are bare aluminum, no insulation. Underground wire needs to be insulated with very tough coatings. The wire also needs to be bigger. Uninsulated wired installed overheard dissipates heat much better than wire insulated with rubber and dirt. Underground lines need to be larger in diameter.

Anyone who whines that the power company won't bury electrical lines is an uninformed idiot.


Or they could be a lay-person asking a pretty simple question about a field they don't know much about.
 
2012-07-05 08:37:00 PM

Glendale: Add to this that people will complain, threaten to sue, collect signatures, anything, to stop such things because they don't want their yard torn up. A couple weeks ago there was an extended power outage in a well-off neighborhood up the street from mine (caused by trees) and the neighbors started raging at the power company when they started trimming the trees. They rage at the power being out while simultaneously raging about the trees being trimmed to fix (and prevent) it.


My point exactly.

"We want all this stuff, but we don't want to pay for it/be inconvenienced by getting it!"
 
2012-07-05 08:48:34 PM

Phadeguy: Just bury all new powerlines underground and replace above ground ones as time and/or disasters permit. Problem solved... eventually.


Sounds like a pretty simple fix huh.

The state is widening a road near my house from 2 to 4 lanes. It's a fairly heavily wooded roadway. Lots of big trees. So you think the power company would take the opportunity to bury the power lines along that stretch since it would be the least disruptive and most robust plan of action. But no. They move them over right next to the trees.
 
2012-07-05 08:55:09 PM
Every crew in Pepco, hundreds of crews from other utilities, and every office worker & executive in Power Delivery is working 15-20 hour days.
The problem here is that these storms hit without warning.
Normally, a utility has at least a few days to plan ahead for something like this... instead, many Pepco employees found out about the problem when their own power went off. This is a hurricaine-sized event, and requires a huge effort over several days or even a few weeks to repair.

Meanwhile, the press and local politicians are tearing into Pepco because they're an easy target.

My wife works for Pepco, and she is on "vacation" with me in the Pacific Northwest... she's been getting up at 3AM local time to approve requisitions and invoices for the repair effort.

So, I can personallly attest that they're working their asses off to get the power back on.
 
2012-07-05 09:10:04 PM

Bullseyed: I'm glad we had the government take over and regulate electricity.

I'm sure we won't have any problems like this with health care!


When did the government take over electric companies? They're still private entities, and do you remember the 90's? remember how electric companies got DE-regulated? Here's a reminder: Link Hint, it hasn't been going so well. But keep smoking that "market will fix everything" crack pipe you got going there.
 
2012-07-05 09:11:49 PM

Maud Dib: There were neighborhoods in Houston that were without power for 2 weeks after Hurricane Ike, so quit yer biatchin'.

Link


Yeah, and there are thousands of people dying horribly every day, so NO ONE is allowed to complain EVER!!!1!!1!!!11!1!!!
 
2012-07-05 09:25:02 PM

My pr0n name is Tom Seaview: Every crew in Pepco, hundreds of crews from other utilities, and every office worker & executive in Power Delivery is working 15-20 hour days.
The problem here is that these storms hit without warning.
Normally, a utility has at least a few days to plan ahead for something like this... instead, many Pepco employees found out about the problem when their own power went off. This is a hurricaine-sized event, and requires a huge effort over several days or even a few weeks to repair.

Meanwhile, the press and local politicians are tearing into Pepco because they're an easy target.

My wife works for Pepco, and she is on "vacation" with me in the Pacific Northwest... she's been getting up at 3AM local time to approve requisitions and invoices for the repair effort.

So, I can personallly attest that they're working their asses off to get the power back on.


Also, pepco has 2 other problems. They have really, really horrible PR people and the execs I've heard on the radio have been near to confrontational, saying "It's a natural disaster, there's nothing we can do!." Meanwhile, the BG&E reps are all sweetness and light and "We're working really hard to get things back online, and we're so sorry..." The second, but more important problem is thier business model of just-in-time repair crew hiring. Most other utilites have a regular staff of crews that they augment with over-hires for times like this. Pepco has virtual skeleton crews and depends almost totally on over-hire. Hence why your vacation is being interrupted...
 
2012-07-05 09:38:56 PM
A huge tree next to my house got hit in this storm and needs to be topped now. I couldn't find anybody all week to hire to do the work because all the tree service companies have been contracted by the power company. They need to staff their own tree service workers and let the community utilize our local business. It's not going to matter much if power is restored to the house if the tree takes out the building!
 
2012-07-05 09:52:06 PM
Also how is it possible for any utility to not know about outages the instant they happen without people calling them? If my power went out and I called ComEd the response would be "We're aware of it and we're sending crews out right now".
 
2012-07-05 10:13:06 PM
This was me until this past Tuesday:

i1114.photobucket.com

Only my side of the street had lost power. One neighbor actually ran an extension cord to his buddy across the street.

I was really happy when they finally got all of the stop lights working. Reisterstown road was like a scene out of Mad Max.
 
2012-07-05 10:20:29 PM

My pr0n name is Tom Seaview: Every crew in Pepco, hundreds of crews from other utilities, and every office worker & executive in Power Delivery is working 15-20 hour days.
The problem here is that these storms hit without warning.
Normally, a utility has at least a few days to plan ahead for something like this... instead, many Pepco employees found out about the problem when their own power went off. This is a hurricaine-sized event, and requires a huge effort over several days or even a few weeks to repair.

Meanwhile, the press and local politicians are tearing into Pepco because they're an easy target.

My wife works for Pepco, and she is on "vacation" with me in the Pacific Northwest... she's been getting up at 3AM local time to approve requisitions and invoices for the repair effort.

So, I can personallly attest that they're working their asses off to get the power back on.


no other utility in the area is having the problems pepco is. what, they have all 2 of their maintenance people on it working long days?
 
2012-07-05 10:37:51 PM

Gyrfalcon:
So nobody is going to agree to an increase in taxes, or their rates, or a temporary inconvenience, just to bury the power lines. Let the power company figure it out on t ...


That's not a bad idea. Legislation that prevents power companies from charging for service during months where the power is out over a certain period of time would certainly help as it would hit them in the only place they care about - the bottom line. Of course it would also be necessary to set strict rate caps to prevent the power company from just hiking up the cost of service to meet those expectations and thereby making it unfordable to many residents.

If the power company can't stay solvent with those restrictions it can fold and allow the government to buy it up and run it as a non-profit public utility. Obviously it still makes sense to charge more for people using more power, but infrastructure improvements like burying lines can be spread across all taxpayers with minimal impact instead of hitting homeowners with $10,000+ assessments out of the blue. You may end up paying for someone else's improvements today, but they'll pay for yours in the future.

For all the flack the post office gets for being perpetually in debt, the service works well and affordably. Any budget deficits can just be spread across the board as tax increases in the future.
 
2012-07-05 10:46:28 PM
Kind of hard to be heard with the power off To my iron lung.
 
2012-07-05 11:33:04 PM

Posh Naranek: mcreadyblue: rugman11: CSB time:

In Texas, the power delivery company has teams constantly driving around giving haircuts to trees.

Also it sounds like this tree was on the power company's easement which makes it their tree.


The city normally owns 5" from the curb in Texas(sometimes 10").

You are responsible for cutting the grass though. :-)

/newer neighborhoods everything is buried under ground.
 
2012-07-05 11:34:52 PM
I live in Maryland. While our power came back on about 24 hours after the storm, which was on Friday night, I didn't see a single Pepco truck anywhere in the county until Tuesday evening.
 
2012-07-05 11:37:08 PM
You guys are all lucky, last winter when the Superbowl was in Arlington Texas, the power company went to rolling blackouts in the city to ensure Jerry's Town has full power.

Losing your power at 100 degrees is uncomfortable, losing your power for a football game when it is 20 degrees is deadly.
 
2012-07-06 06:04:22 AM
But hey, good luck rebuilding Iraq and other countries when you are unable to even have the frigging power restored in an hour.

The longest I have ever gone without power is two hours in 35 years. Buried lines and socialism I guess.
 
2012-07-06 08:08:47 AM

EnviroDude: having lived through Betsy, Camille, Fred, Katrina, Rita and others, I am getting a kick out of the outrage from the people without power. When you are without power for about 6 weeks, then I will have sympathy for you.
i>

The definition of stupid: getting hit with half a dozen hurricanes and still living in the same place. Good job, champ.

 
2012-07-06 08:16:24 AM

Lsherm: vernonFL: I got my power back on yesterday, it had been off since Friday night.

I think people need to stop complaining. The crews are working hard, its 97 degrees outside, and they needed to take care of hospitals and nursing homes first.

They already took care of the hospitals and nursing homes.

What they need to do is bury the goddamn power lines. Dominion Power actually has a report linked off the front of their page explaining how they think it's prohibitively expensive to do so, all without mentioning that they've sent more money than that to their shareholders in the past 20 years.


There is a link to how the pros and cons to burying the lines. If it will cost billions to bury them in just that region, it wold make more economical sense to just put up solar panels on everyone's houses.

Und Becks: This was me until this past Tuesday:

[i1114.photobucket.com image 320x180]

Only my side of the street had lost power. One neighbor actually ran an extension cord to his buddy across the street.

I was really happy when they finally got all of the stop lights working. Reisterstown road was like a scene out of Mad Max.


This is usually how it is when my parents lose power when some drunk hits a pole. One half of our development gets power from one line and sub station while the other half from another one. We could never understand why they did this when there are only 40 some homes.

WhyteRaven74: Also how is it possible for any utility to not know about outages the instant they happen without people calling them? If my power went out and I called ComEd the response would be "We're aware of it and we're sending crews out right now".


There are ways that they can detect it depending on what happened. If a good amount of customer lose power, they can see that in their system. If someone hits the pole going into your house, not going to know that unless someone says something.

I work for a cableco and it is the same thing with us. If your equipment goes offline, we can kind of see that but we don't contact your because customers unpower their equipment all of the time. If a node goes out, we are going to know there is a problem.

VulpesVulpes: Bullseyed: I'm glad we had the government take over and regulate electricity.

I'm sure we won't have any problems like this with health care!

When did the government take over electric companies? They're still private entities, and do you remember the 90's? remember how electric companies got DE-regulated? Here's a reminder: Link Hint, it hasn't been going so well. But keep smoking that "market will fix everything" crack pipe you got going there.


Oh those days are so far away now. Utilities are not the same as other industries that got deregulated. Airlines and trucking companies having less regulation on their prices and routes can not be compared apples to apples with power companies. Prices are not going to go down when the company owns the transmission lines that a competitor needs to use.

RDixon: There is gonna be a slew of used generators for sale in the next few months.

Be a great time to pick up a slightly used 5 kw unit with electric start on the cheap.


And also chainsaws. In South Jersey, you can not find either. I haven't been to any of the local home depots in my neck of the woos, newark de, but I bet they are also sold out.

Fubegra: RoxtarRyan: Oh, god no... I think a person might need a bit more than 4kW to go off grid.. maybe 10kW to be safe, in case of power spikes. Not only that, but the consumption rate of about 5 gallons of propane every hour for about 6kW, you'd be out of 50 gallons of propane in 10 hours.. I use about 50 gallons every 5 months for hot water and stove use. Here in CT, with 50 gallons going for about $230 or so, it would cost WAY too much to get off the grid using propane generators.

You could probably swing it off-grid with 4 kW if you're careful about what you run and when. Right now in the Chicago area, it's 100 out, and this house has two fairly modest window A/C units cooling the first floor, two CRT TV sets (one monster 32" and one tabletop set), a gas dryer, a fridge, and several computers running, and based on my timing the spinning disc in the meter, we're using about 4.4 kW. The house is a well-insulated two-story farmhouse with about 1600 sq. ft. of floor space.

On the other hand, if you have a McMansion with central air, you'll probably need quite a bit more generating capacity.


McMansion, you would need like 2 of these bad boys

www.helixwind.com

I bet if you have painted red, white, and blue, no one will care about the look of it.
 
2012-07-06 08:49:17 AM

CPT Ethanolic: PEPCO is one of the worst companies I've ever dealt with. We used to have 4-5 days of outages every summer.


They are terrible. Fortunately, I'm bad-mouthing them from the air conditioning of my BG&E served home.
 
2012-07-06 09:41:34 AM

robbiex0r: Gyrfalcon: max_pooper: Rerouting existing power lines underground would be ridiculously expensive. In an average neighborhood I would guess between $10,000-$20,000 per house.

Trenches need to be dug so the cable can be laid, that means ripping up whatever is on that land and replacing it: streets, driveways, sidewalks, fences ect. Then all new transformers need to be installed, pole mounted transformers cannot be mounted on the ground. Then all new drops need to be installed from the new ground mounted transformer to each customer. That means more tearing up yards, sidewalk, driveways, pools, basement walls ect. Once the new lines are up and running and every customer has been reconnected to the new underground grid the existing overhead grid needs to be removed.

Also the wire used for underground is much more expensive that what is used for overhear. The overhead wires are bare aluminum, no insulation. Underground wire needs to be insulated with very tough coatings. The wire also needs to be bigger. Uninsulated wired installed overheard dissipates heat much better than wire insulated with rubber and dirt. Underground lines need to be larger in diameter.

Anyone who whines that the power company won't bury electrical lines is an uninformed idiot.

Your thought on costs are probably underestimated OVERESTIMATED, but the rest of your statement is spot on. Especially the last sentence.

/by a lot


I actually underestimated by a lot.
 
2012-07-06 10:03:23 AM
I too think that PEPCO is the worst ever. I have to deal with them at work all the time. Idiots.
 
2012-07-06 10:17:46 AM
I lost power 20days ago here in Richmond. That's right, I lost power days before the storms hit. I was without power for about 13days, most of which without any reason I could see.

Weirdly my Verizon never even hiccuped and it comes in on the same poles as them. In fact in the 9years I have lived in this house I have been without power around 1700hrs, but have only have around 48hrs of lost cable/phone/internet. And I have never lost my gas, water or sewage.
 
2012-07-06 10:31:32 AM

max_pooper: robbiex0r: Gyrfalcon: max_pooper: Rerouting existing power lines underground would be ridiculously expensive. In an average neighborhood I would guess between $10,000-$20,000 per house.


Even Dominion power which has a vested interest in having the lines on poles doesn't think it will cost anywhere close to that. While dominion would like you to believe it's close to $160 per foot, it only takes two minutes looking for a private electrical contractor to figure out that's not true. Most 3phase underground installations can be done for less 25k per mile (Less than $5 a foot). Beyond that, they always work the estimate to include every single miles of cable, even though way less than half of it needs to be buried at all.
 
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