Why not bury California's fire-prone power lines underground? The reason is sky high Janet Wilson Palm Springs Desert Sun
Why can't California's fire-prone power lines be buried underground, out of harm's way?
That was the question many Californians were asking this week as hundreds of thousands of customers lost power in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas in preemptive shutoffs by Pacific Gas & Electric. Further south, another 200,000 customers of other utilities faced warnings that they too could lose power due to high winds.
Experts say the answer is simple: money.
"It's very, very expensive," said Severin Borenstein, a UC Berkeley professor of business administration and public policy who specializes in energy. Borenstein was speaking through the crackly static of a cell phone outside his darkened home in the San Francisco suburb of Orinda on Thursday evening. The Berkeley campus was shut down and his home had lost power too after PG&E instituted a mandatory "de-energization" across nearly 40 counties due to high fire threats.
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