Power Up or Down

Dec 19, 2012

The delivery of electricity to Lexington homes could travel a new route in the years ahead.  Instead of utility poles, some city leaders are more interested in underground power lines.  Council member Bill Farmer says it needs to be part of Lexington’s long term planning..  “Not just when a pole can go up or be changed, but for us to begin to think about when can one go down and be buried.  I think this is an opening discussion about how we think about it from a policy standpoint and then an action standpoint after that,” said Farmer.

Typically, Kentucky Utilities Spokesman Cliff Feltham says moving electrical lines underground is a much more expensive endeavor than stringing those lines from utility poles.

“It can drive up the cost of that system, construction of that system by about three, four, five, six, up to ten times what an overhead system would be to put it in,” said Feltham.

Even with power lines underground, Kentucky Utilities Spokesman Cliff Feltham says there’s no guaranteed protection against power outages.  At some point, he says underground lines are still fed electricity from the surface.   Feltham says virtually all of the subdivisions built in Lexington over the last 30 years already have underground utilities.  He says that still leaves about 70 percent of the community with above ground power lines.