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Why No Improvements?

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by ShoNuff, Sep 6, 2004.

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  1. ShoNuff

    ShoNuff Guest

    I hope someone here can explain why, after all these years, that the power
    companies have not come up with a better distribution method than poles and

    Every time there is a storm, people lose their electricity because something
    blew, or more commonly, a tree fell and took down a line.

    Why doesn't the power company just bury the wires much like the phone
    company has done? It seems that with all the knowledge and genius we have
    in the USA that someone would come up with something more reliable.

    When I asked my local power company about it, she told me to go buy a

    So, PLEASE - someone help me understand why the electrical grid is still
    back in the 1800s.

  2. ShoNuff

    ShoNuff Guest

    So why not get the engineers to work on some better way? Is it under study?

    My neighborhood is all new and all utilities are underground. We only lose
    power when the feeder that goes many miles thru older sections goes down.
    Makes me think the technology is available, just not used. If so, why?

    Thanks again!
  3. repatch

    repatch Guest

    Because you've already got your answer: there is no monetary incentive to
    increase power reliability to residential customers. Dollars are all that

    FWIW where I live we have all our lines above ground, and the last time I
    lost power was Aug 14 last year... before that I can't remember the last
    time I lost power. Sounds reliable enough to me...
  4. Guest

    Imagine what it would cost to replace all the overhead cables
    with underground cables.
  5. Bob Peterson

    Bob Peterson Guest

    Some areas the power supply is buried underground but surprisingly to me,
    this actually costs more than the pole method, so many areas just put in the
    poles. Keep in mind that many places the telco also runs its wires on the
    same utility poles.
  6. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    I have been putting MV( up to 35kv) underground for 15 years. Works just
    fine as long as the correct cable and conduit are installed.

    Locating faults is not hard at all. We use an tracker on the grounded cable
    and you can find the fault pretty quickly. I have never seen an cable fault
    at any where other than physical damage, the terminations or splices. Terms
    and splices are in accessible places so they are not hard to get to.

    There are a few HV underground installations that I know of. The cost of the
    cable is tremendous and usually HV is overhead because of that.
  7. Bob

    Bob Guest

    I live in a neighborhood with underground utilities.
    Last year the transformer (located in MY yard unfortunately) had a
    seal failure in winter and blew up. No real damage to my property,
    until it was time to replace it. The tractors etc. necessary to swap
    the vault (too small for new xfmr) and the cranes did major damage to
    my landscaping, none of which was covered by the utility. They claimed
    that it was my responsibility to keep landscaping away from their
    right-of-way, as shown on my deed. In addition, it took almost a week
    to accomplish this, during which our entire 3 block neighborhood was
    without power. I can only imagine that a pole pig would have been
    swapped out in less than a day. Attached are pix of the "grand
    operation" involved.

    6 months later, the 11kV primary feed for that xfmr had an insulation
    failure 20 feet away, probably as a result of the earlier xfmr
    problem. The cable was buried beneeth the sidewalk and the force of
    the explosion underground cracked and erupted the sidewalk concrete,
    as well as damaged the telco lines and TV cable buried in the same
    area. All 3 systems were down for another week waiting for
    coordination of the sidewalk removal, street blocking, parked car
    removal for tractor access etc. etc. etc. Again, I doubt that an
    overherad line failure would have taken so long to fix.

    Along the same lines (no pun intended), the Telco system was installed
    in the 1970's when the tract was built, and they had the "foresight"
    to imagine that everyone in the neighborhood would want 2, count-em 2
    phone lines per house. So that is EXACTLY how many conductors they
    buried. Now days of course, everyone wants a fax line and a DSL line
    etc etc,, plus over 30 years some of the wires have failed, so the
    telco is completely out of hard wires. They want to assess us over
    $1600 per home for the cost of diging up the sidewalks to replace the
    phone cables. In my old 'hood they simply added cables to the poles
    one day and offered me 4 extra lines for a nominal monthly adder.

    Underground is no panacea, it just looks better IF you can afford it.
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