Opinion: Get The Wires Underground | Avi Gutfreund

On Monday, the tri-state area, including Lakewood, experienced severely high winds with gale-force gusts that knocked down trees, blew away garbage cans, and even toppled several bus stop shelters. It also caused multiple transformers around Lakewood to explode, creating a hazard on the roads and a nightmare for people left without power in their homes on a cold day. As of Monday night, there were still many homes in Lakewood that had not yet had their power restored, and a wedding taking place in a Lakewood hall was only able to continue with the help of Chaveirim, who supplied light and power. Why halls in Lakewood don’t have their own generators is another matter for a different article.

For now, I just want to know why our power lines are not yet underground. We live in the 21st century, technology is advancing at warp speed, yet we can’t even do some basic infrastructure work to make sure century-old technology can operate in suboptimal weather?

Why is it that every time the wind gusts higher than 20 MPH, 500 families need to be left in the dark? Why is it that in every instance that we have snow people are left shivering under their covers? Why is it that when we have a thunderstorm the air conditioning won’t cool our homes off because the power was knocked out from a stray bolt of lightning? I am sick and tired, as I am sure you are, of losing power from slight weather changes.

There is a simple solution to fix this: get the power lines underground. Subterranean power lines are not affected in inclement weather, are easier for power companies to fix, and don’t pose the dangers of fallen live lines that over ground power lines do.

Yes, I know that installing subterranean power lines is expensive. But certain expenses are worth the money. Building a house is expensive, but is something that you use every day, so you spend the money on it. Well, electricity is something we use every day as well – shouldn’t we spend the money to ensure that the electricity is available for use? Seems pretty sensible to me.

I am somewhat surprised that this concept hasn’t received more attention from our community in recent years, as our infrastructure lags behind other townships. But it’s never too late to start talking about a good idea. Let’s start now.

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  1. I agree that it would be better to have the utility lines underground, but the question is how much is each individual willing to pay to have this done, never mind the years of disruption of construction work?

  2. Shouldn’t you be pitching this to JCP&L? Isn’t up to them to make this investment (and raise our rates)? Most of the NJ suburbs have this same issue…how would you get them to come to Lakewood?

  3. Usually areas with wires above ground aren’t retro fitted to go under due to the enormous cost (and permits, since they will need to rip up private property)

    All new neighborhoods – be it developments or not- all are underground.

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