Sat | Feb 27, 2021

Time to install power lines underground

Published:Thursday | December 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Negril residents have been demonstrating for most of this week. They have been blocking roads and setting fire to tyres. They are angry!

Earlier this week, two cousins were electrocuted by a live electrical wire that fell from a utility pole. This is something that can happen to any person anywhere, any day of the week. That's because we have this archaic system of transmitting electricity in which potentially deadly live wires are strung on utility poles to carry this service all over the island.

Anything, like an accident, falling object, weather or mischief or 'teefing', can cause a catastrophe of enormous proportions.

The question that keeps exercising my mind is, given the extreme exposure of the citizenry to electrocution or shock, why aren't we undergrounding? That is the replacement of overhead cables providing electrical power and telecommunications with underground cables.

In Stony Hill, where I live, any hearty sneeze by a resident results in a power outage. That problem would end.

All low- and medium-voltage electrical power in the Netherlands is now supplied underground. Countries like the UK and Germany are undergrounding a portion of their cables each year.

Then there is the option of installing air cables. These are insulated cables spun between poles and used for power transmission and telecommunication services. This removes the danger of electrical shock and would be particularly attractive (cost-wise) for installations in our more hilly areas.

Our present system of electrical transmission is extremely dangerous. This is exacerbated by the curiosity and creativity of some of our brothers in search of cheaper solutions. This system is very dangerous and - quite frankly - very ugly. We need to get rid of it. Let's bury it!