Underground vs. Overhead: Power Line Installation


Although overhead power lines are typically more economical, they are susceptible to damage from wind-borne tree branches, debris and high wind and ice-loading conditions from extreme weather. The damages can cause extended power outages that in extreme cases cannot be restored for days or even weeks. The cost for repairing the physical damages can be in the billions of dollars. During long outages after a catastrophe, there are also associated intangible impacts to a utility’s customers such as despair, discomfort, anxiety and helplessness. In addition to the intangible impacts, there are considerable direct economic impacts to customers resulting from lost economic activity, food spoilage, looting, etc. These tangible and intangible impacts challenge the electric utility industry’s attempts to justify the installation of overhead electric distribution and transmission systems.

Have you ever wondered whether or not those overhead power lines in your backyard could be installed underground? Some could argue that they are needed yet, an eyesore. But, the question is, how hard would it really be to get them underground? Our Centennial electricians understand the frustration of those who dislike the overhead lines, but understand that in some cases there is a possibility of relocation. Weigh some pros and cons of this possibility below:

Technical improvements in cable technology, wire placement, conduit sizing, grounding methods, directional boring techniques and other aspects of undergrounding power lines have advanced the reliability of underground power. They have not lowered their initial construction costs significantly, however, which are mostly associated with trenching through the earth along the entire line route. 

Underground vs. Overhead: Power Line Installation


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