Frankenstorm Sandy Approaches

October 28th, 2012 at 7:37 am

As goes the power, so goes the internet, and the likelihood of an outage here in the DC area is high, so if there’s radio silence from OTE for a few days, that’s why.

Not to bring everything back to Keynesian economics, but the 10 year bond yield is 1.75%, the 10 year TIPs yield is negative, far too many workers of both blue and white collar are out of work, and millions of people in the Northeast are once again about to lose power because a) we’re about to have another one of those 100 year storms that seem to be coming about every six months, and b) our power lines are above ground.

People have often said to me that there are no more big, national infrastructure projects that need to be undertaken, like the railroads, the highway system, the electrical grid, the Hoover damn.  Well, as we handed out the flashlights to the kids before bed tonight, this one came to mind: bury the damn power lines!

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7 comments in reply to "Frankenstorm Sandy Approaches"

  1. Chris G says:

    “…bury the damn power lines!”

    I’m on our town’s Arbor Resources committee. Trees vs power lines is an ongoing issue. Every few years the power company comes along and hacks up the trees in close proximity to the lines. Basically they mortally wound a significant fraction of the trees and make the area godawful ugly. It’s a lose-lose situation. Bury the damn power lines already!

    • Chris G says:

      Two things:

      1) I should have qualified my comment above with “In addition to the very serious concerns about power lines going down during semi-annual 100 year storms…”

      2) The person who has the office next to me at work also lives in the neighboring town. During last year’s ‘freak’ late October snowstorm we only lost power at our house for a day. She lost power for 4-5 days at her house. A few weeks after things were back to normal we were chatting about our respective sans-electricity experiences. Her kids – roughly 10 yrs old – where taken aback by how dependent they were on things electric. (Mine, being only three and one, didn’t seem to make as much of it.) I concurred and observed that I really should get a generator because it’s pretty foolish to have 150 gallons of heating oil in our tank and not be able to use it because we have an electric furnace. (Doh!) The other thing she noted was that having power lines on poles seemed like a ‘third world’ approach to electricity distribution. She grew up in Italy. Apparently Europeans do things differently there. She said she’s always been puzzled by how we do it here.

      • PeonInChief says:

        US power lines are on wooden poles because we developed mass electrification earlier than Europe. (In Europe above-ground lines are on concrete “poles”.) One of the problems with being an early adopter is that you get a fairly primitive infrastructure. And while undergrounding is a good idea, it’s expensive and many people don’t want to pay for it. Hmm, now might be a good time to propose it…

        • Chris G says:

          Good points. On that theme, my recollection of Tokyo is that the overhead wires were a real rat’s nest. (That recollection is from 20+ years ago and based primarily on the neighborhood I lived in.) A result – at least in part – of them being an ‘early adopter’ post-WWII?

  2. Robin Schulberg says:

    From the New Orleans area — couldn’t agree more.

  3. Ed Viguerie says:

    Also from Louisiana (but not New Orleans) and also couldn’t agree more.

    To all those people that complain that there are no more big, national infrastructure projects that need to be undertaken, I would simply say, “Sure there are! The railroads, the highway system, the electrical grid…”

  4. Chris G says:

    A few words on Romney’s record re disaster response from my homeboy Charles Pierce: