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(NJ.com)   In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, NJ Assemblyman wants stronger utility poles. He doesn't know how much they'd cost or if they'd make any difference, but he wants them   (nj.com) divider line 13
    More: Obvious, NJ Assemblyman, McKeon, utility pole, transmission tower, electric utility, state legislators, DPW  
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1614 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Dec 2012 at 8:45 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-12 08:54:42 AM
3 votes:

TheGreatGazoo: colinspooky: or join the civilised world and bury the wires

Lets get right on that

"The North Carolina Utilities Commission said that burying wires statewide would cost $41 billion, take 25 years, and would more than double monthly electric bills. The news gets more discouraging. Some experts say that underground cables are more reliable than those above ground but only by about 50%, and that advantage is somewhat counteracted when you consider that it takes much longer to find, dig up, and repair a faulty wire. Why do underground cables fail at all? Floods and earthquakes can short lines. There's more: The roots of a tree toppled in a storm could destroy a buried wire."


and yet, when everyone else around us loses power during a storm, we don't, because our wires are buried. Amazing.
2012-12-12 09:07:51 AM
2 votes:

colinspooky: or join the civilised world and bury the wires


Why do yo hate the working class? Just how many good paying Union jobs are tied to needing to maintain the current system.

If you bury them it means less maintenance and fewer jobs. Of course they could always find working at Solyndra or building Chevy Volts.

Of course things like population density, miles of line to be buried (more than any other country) also come into play

Best way to do it would be to mandate all new lines to be buried and existing lines buried as they need repair and have consumers eat the cost over time.
2012-12-12 06:45:06 AM
2 votes:
or join the civilised world and bury the wires
2012-12-13 10:42:13 AM
1 votes:

Sean M: And you mean to tell me the same thing doesn't happen with a blizzard? There was ample warning that this storm was coming. I know -- I was in the NYC area when Sandy hit. I knew there was a good chance I was going to get caught in the storm, and my carry-on had a smaller version of my hurricane kit in it. Batteries galore, flashlights, solar panel for charging phones, laptops, 2-way radios, emergency supplies, etc.


Dude, this wasn't an issue of milk bread and batteries. Just because you're from an area that regularly experiences Category 2 and 3 hurricanes and an occasional Category 4, expecting people in New Jersey to have the same level of preparedness, and expecting the State government and the infrastructure to be as ready for it as they are in Florida is ridiculous.

Sure, there was plenty of warning, just like there is for every hurricane that crawls up the coast. But all the warning in the world doesn't change the fact that this was the worst storm in a century. From the perspective of the electric utilities, it was the worst storm in recorded history. More than a few beach towns had their entire beachfronts - boardwalks along with several blocks of houses inland - completely destroyed. Having more than a dozen substations knocked out due to wind, trees and flooding isn't "failure to plan" when nothing even remotely close to that has ever happened before. The storm knocked out power to more than 85% of the people and business in the entire state.

It's nice that you had a hurricane kit and all, I do to, but asking people in New Jersey to "be prepared" for a storm that is worse than any hurricane that has ever hit is kinda like telling folks in Miami that they should have "been prepared" after 14 inches of snow shuts down the entire region for a week or two. I mean, it's snowed there before, right? So a few days warning before the storm should be enough for them to get ready for it, amirite?

shiat, people with generators were without power because they couldn't get gasoline to run them - they were still rationing gas throughout most (if not all) of the state ten days after the storm stopped. I waited in line for more than three hours to get a tank of gas, and that was only after I manged to find the one single gas station within three miles of my house that was able to get any deliveries.

Sean M: I live on a barrier island myself and have made sure I'm not going to get stuck in a shiatty situation because a Cat4 hurricane comes plowing through.


And that's your problem right there. Tell me, if the folks in your area got nailed with a 9.5 earthquake, what would your response be to all the farkers from California telling you that the devastation and total shutdown of the area was mostly due to a "failure to plan"?

www.nypost.com

The pier that this roller coaster sat on survived every storm that has crawled up the coast since it was built more than fifty years ago, including direct hits from several Category1 hurricanes, as well as a brush with a Category 2. The fact that it is now in the ocean is not due to a "failure to plan" 

So yeah, to answer your question, the same thing most certainly does not happen with a blizzard. Any blizzard. Because this wasn't people without power for two weeks - this was people without power for two weeks when local grocery stores were all closed, local department stores were all closed, local gas stations were all closed, many local roads were closed, local emergency shelters were overfull. This wasn't the kind of thing that normal people are ever prepared for.
2012-12-12 11:01:55 AM
1 votes:
My experiences from hurricane country (Florida):

Underground will stop trees from taking out power lines. BUT it won't stop tree roots from up-rooted trees from ripping up power lines. As Pick mentioned, underground is very fragile in terms of flooding and it takes far more time to dig up and repair a damaged underground system than an exposed overhead system.

As far as reinforced utility poles, there is some merit to reinforcing the main feeders (high-tension lines), but I don't believe Sandy had winds strong enough anywhere to cause a problem. In Hurricane Charley, 135-145mph winds hit Punta Gorda. Other than a few of the tall interstate interchange light poles, I can't say I saw a failure that was 100% wind-caused and not due to trees/flying debris.

What DOES work is aggressive tree-trimming, which most of the Florida utilities started doing after getting hit in 2004/2005. What also works is a more-distributed grid, but the NIMBYs don't want power plants anywhere near them. The closer you are to a power plant, the shorter the line runs, the more reliable the system. It's why my data center is located down the street from the power plant and feet from the telco. Haven't had a total power outage in ~15 years, even through multiple Cat3 hurricanes.
2012-12-12 10:45:38 AM
1 votes:

Fissile: It's obscene that New Jersey still has overhead power lines. The only reason those power lines are still overhead is because we don't have the political will to join the modern world.


The densest county in NJ (Hudson at 5200 people per km^2) is about half the density of the urbanized Seoul or Tokyo metro areas. And, again, both of those are absolutely criss-crossed thick with overhead wiring. It's honestly cheaper and more efficient (if it were cheaper/more efficient to bury them, the Japanese or Koreans would have). The only advantage is aesthetic, and they're considered a sign of modernity in Japan/Korea.
2012-12-12 10:32:03 AM
1 votes:

Fissile: New Jersey is one of the most densely populated places in the world.......population density of nearly 1200 people per square mile.....making it more densely populated than almost every European country, and more densely populated than Japan. To understand just how densely populated New Jersey really is, compare it to Ohio. Ohio currently has a total population of about 11 million people. If Ohio had the same population DENSITY as NJ, the total population of Ohio would be 50 million people. The top 4 most densely populated towns in the US are in New Jersey. NYC comes in at number 5. It's obscene that New Jersey still has overhead power lines. The only reason those power lines are still overhead is because we don't have the political will to join the modern world.


As Pick pointed out, underground lines are susceptible to flood damage from shorting, damage to transformers (that is actually what happened in NYC), or just physical damage caused by other underground masses moving around when the soil becomes saturated. Underground lines also can rise to the surface in heavy floods.

Add to all that, NJ has a mean elevation of 246 ft above sea level, the largest land area, the Atlantic Coastal Plain, covers the southern 3/5 of New Jersey. More than half of this area, characterized by gently rolling hills, is less than 100 feet above sea level. If you pull up the FEMA flood zone maps, you will see large swaths are marked as high probability of flooding... So, sure, you're right, NJ has a dense population, but that is NOT THE ONLY THING TO CONSIDER.
2012-12-12 10:20:32 AM
1 votes:
Underground utility lines certainly look nicer, but they require far more expertise to repair. Outages may be less frequent, but when they do occur, they are be longer. (Several years ago, large parts of Queens had no power for a few weeks in the middle of the summer while underground wiring was being repaired.)
2012-12-12 09:38:59 AM
1 votes:
I work for an electric utility, and I can tell you that putting lines underground, causes just as many problems as it solves. People hitting lines while digging, ground mounted transformers shorting out from flood waters, etc. Overhead is better IMHO, if you have exceptional vegetation control, which is possible.
2012-12-12 09:35:29 AM
1 votes:
so if the poles stay up, but the wires still go down your power magically stays on?
2012-12-12 09:27:17 AM
1 votes:

Katie98_KT:

and yet, when everyone else around us loses power during a storm, we don't, because our wires are buried. Amazing.


Hey everyone, Katie98_KT has figured out how to fix all our problems because they don't happen to her!

There are good arguments for and against burying wires, but "I didn't lose power during that storm" isn't one of them.

This assemblyman is a moron; utility poles don't fail because the wood lacks sufficient strength. He would have a much higher success rate proposing setting all poles in concrete (someone already mentioned the issue of cars hitting stronger poles, and yes that would result in more fatalities). If a tree falls against adjacent wires, it is going to bring those wires down one way or another... some would argue it is better for the pole to be displaced than for the lines to snap.
2012-12-12 09:02:59 AM
1 votes:

colinspooky: or join the civilised world and bury the wires


Depends on what you consider 'civilized' I guess. Japan experiences more various natural disasters than just about anywhere. And, once you get out of the very-innermost-core of Tokyo, the sky is pretty much a complete and utter rats-nest of wires. Of course, when mudslide/quake/etc/etc happens, they have hundreds of guys in color-coded suits on it pretty much instantly.
2012-12-12 08:55:55 AM
1 votes:
The polls weren't the biggest problem. Sure, we lost a few in my town, but the substations being under 5 feet of water was the bigger issue.
 
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