July 13, 2012

I question Robert McCartney’s statement [“How to make the utilities toe the (power) line for us,” Metro, July 8] that burying power lines will not happen because of the prohibitive costs. It would be useful to compare the cost of such a project with the cost of dealing with the downed trees and aboveground power lines.

The tab for calling in help from around the country and for lost revenue to businesses without power, in addition to the incredible waste of throwing out spoiled food, must have been millions. And many people bought generators or stayed in hotels during the outage.

If the cost of burying the lines could be spread over five or even 10 years, it might look more promising. In addition, think of all the jobs that would be created in doing the work. This could help the economy.

Memories are short, and vivid recollection of the hardships we suffered as a result of the June derecho will likely fade — until next time, and there surely will be a next time. Now is the time to address the issue of burying the lines.

Mary Jane Alexander, Potomac

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Whoa! Let’s put the “bury the lines” horse back in the barn. Pepco customers will have to pay for the billions it will surely cost to bury the lines, and no major project ever comes in under budget in the D.C. area. Pepco has a management track record that puts it below average among national power companies. Burying the lines will not change Pepco’s inefficiency and ineffectiveness, and it may even make the leadership and management more complacent than they already are.  

Let’s pay to improve Pepco and set a goal of restoring power in half the time when the inevitable widespread outages occur. Improving the company and its performance will be far cheaper, the company may achieve a rating in the upper half of national utilities, and the sentiment to bury the lines at a far greater cost to the customer will hopefully diminish.

David Griffin, Chevy Chase