The obvious solution to power outages: bury the lines

February 10, 2011

In his letter to the Sun ( "O'Malley's Wrong About Electric Deregulation," Feb. 8) BGE planning analyst Paul Ritterhoff states that Gov. Martin O'Malley's effort to blame the prolonged, storm-related power outages on a deregulated electricity market is deceitful. Maybe he is right. But here is my question for Mr. Ritterhoff and BGE: After decades of power outages caused by snow, ice and wind bringing down power lines from falling trees and branches, why are these power lines still hanging up in the air?

Yes, I admire and applaud the heroism and dedication of the BGE workers who labor around the clock under hazardous conditions to restore service to the thousands of people deprived of heat and power for hours or days. But sadly, these repairs are only temporary, until the next snowstorm or hurricane hits. So, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars not to mention the safety risks to repairmen and health risks to vulnerable customers, we are no better off in the long run.

BGE management has dropped the ball for decades by not aggressively pursuing a goal to bury all power lines in its service area. Maryland is full of trees, and the piecemeal approach of clear-cutting whole rows of trees or mutilating them to create openings for power lines is an environmental insult. Please, BGE, spend our money wisely in the future by implementing a continuous program of burying your power lines, beginning in outage-prone areas. Then you will be truly working toward a long-term solution to the power outage problem and providing a real service to the community.

Donald T. Torres, Ellicott City

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