Going Underground With Electrics, the Palm Beach Way

Like everyone else, it’s slow:

Deputy Town Manager Tom Bradford brightened Tuesday’s meeting of the Town Council’s Ordinances, Rules and Standards Committee with news that North End residents have inundated the town with requests to have power, cable and phone lines buried on their respective streets.

Their interest appears to have been sparked by two neighborhood utility burial projects, on Nightingale Trail and La Puerta Way, and on East Inlet Drive, Bradford said. The town is administering the projects, which are in the planning stages. The town will front the money, and property owners will reimburse it through assessments on their tax bills over 10 years.

Every time this country has a major weather disaster, be it hurricane, tornado or snow storm, thousands if not millions are left in the dark without electric power.  One big reason for that is that, for supposedly being the richest and most advanced country on earth, most of our electric transmission is above ground.  We’re literally sitting ducks for failure in a disaster.

And it’s not a class problem either.  It’s not easy to see past the high hedges, but much of Palm Beach, the wealthiest zip code in the United States, is still lit up with above ground electric service.  The hedges themselves hide this shameful fact, but the foliage is also a part of the problem: when it bats into the power lines, get out the candles and flashlights in your multi-million dollar home.  (That is, unless ARCOM made you tear it down…)

As a former North End resident whose room had a breathtaking vista of the power lines running along the back of the property, I can see why current North Enders are enthusiastic about burying this problem once and for all.  We were so paranoid about losing power in this storied place that I still distrust a clock which isn’t either battery-powered or has backup to wake me up in the morning.

Hopefully Palm Beach will lead the way for the rest of the nation in this regard, and this time it will be for the good.

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