underground utility line construction in middle of street

When you think of electric power lines, you probably envision overhead lines. Held up by utility poles, they're such a part of your life that you probably don't notice them until one goes down. However, while overhead lines get the job done, there areas of improvement to see our power delivered, not from above, but from below ground. This process of burying power lines is called undergrounding. While it is not the norm now, it is becoming more common.

Why Undergrounding?

What are the advantages of moving miles and miles of power lines underground? The primary benefit is that underground power lines are not vulnerable to disruption in the same way that overhead lines are. They can't be knocked down by storms or car accidents, for example, and the pull of gravity won't snap a line if a support pole buckles. Additionally, curious critters won't be able to traverse, claw at, chew on, or damage the underground lines like those overhead. Instead, they'll be better protected, and power disruptions will minimize.

Power lines underground would be kept in conduits that would be protected from dozens of hazards, would put less stress on them, and would be well out of the way of wildlife.

Challenges of Undergrounding

While undergrounding is the clear choice for safety and security, it also represents a huge cost in terms of time, effort, and resources. Digging trenches to lay lines takes time, and in many cases those lines would need to be run into buildings from beneath the ground. It isn't feasible for this kind of major infrastructural change to happen quickly, or easily.

However, undergrounding is being used in many places to help alleviate serious risks of traditional overhead power lines. Locations where there are issues with above-ground lines, where there are serious risks, and where the added security of undergrounding is considered a necessity are being converted when necessary. Lines are installed underground during initial construction where possible. Places like public buildings, hospitals, and locations that regularly experience severe weather or similar situations make ideal candidates for undergrounding.

While it is possible that undergrounding may become the standard for infrastructure one day, in the meantime, most people must deal with above-ground lines. Unfortunately, the existing threats remain, like weather, accidents, and wildlife damage. Critter Guard's solutions of Line Guards and Pole Guards are ideal for minimizing the risks to your utility lines and poles while they're still in the open air. For more information about how we can help keep your lines safe, simply contact us today!