Do consumers want to pay thousands to bury power lines and reduce outages? Most of the 75 readers who commented online on a recent story said no.
More than a dozen who called and wrote said lines in their neighborhood are buried but they still experience outages. Some said they were without power for more than a week after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. That's in part because the wires delivering power to their neighborhood may not be buried.
"It's not all it's cracked up to be," said Hilary Warner of Coral Springs. "I have underground wires and I have more outages than other people."
She said she has had six outages since June 5, ranging from momentary blips in power to longer blackouts. "It knocks out all my electronics, all the digital clocks. It's already fried two direct TV boxes and [two] commercial grade thermostats," said Warner, director of operations for a shoe importer.
Some readers said FPL’s shareholders should pay some of the cost of burying the lines since owning the upgraded equipment will increase the company’s value. One reader said cities should put the projects out to bid before approving them instead of accepting FPL’s estimate on the cost – similar to what Jupiter Island did.
Another reader who did not want to be named because he said he works in the utility industry said a home's landscaping could be damaged or changed when lines are buried. "Trees, landscaping and driveways are subject to being removed, cut-a-way, and trenched through," he wrote in an email. "That means if you have shrubs in the lines path they will be removed or cut back. Roots of trees will be cut and disturbed. Some trees no matter how big or beautiful will have to be removed. Driveways, even though they will be repaired, will be trenched through causing homeowners a hassle getting in and out."