"You know what causes power outages!?"


As of today, there are still a few thousand Tar Heels left in the cold and dark in the wake of the devastating ice-and-snow storm a week ago. Now, some Monday-morning-quarterbacking is being done. Both CP&L and Duke Power say they won't raise rates to help pay for the clean-up, which could cost as much as 75-million dollars and take months to complete. That is a gracious gesture, even though that amount of money is somewhere near "chump change" for the two big utility companies. I say, never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Governor Easley has called for steps to ensure that nearly two-million people don't lose electricity again. Now, that is a nice thought, but it involves an investment that would probably make the power companies cringe, and cause folks' hearts to race when they get their monthly bills.

Here along the coast we are used to long power outages during our thankfully infrequent hurricanes, and we know that trees falling across power lines is the main culprit.

The answer: don't hang wires from poles under and through trees! Putting power lines under ground is not cheap, but it doesn't take many hurricanes or ice storms to make it look mighty attractive. It worked for the phone company.