On your Opinions page of Nov. 14, you wrote an article demanding that the PUD bury all of the transmission lines to avoid the power outages that we suffer through when the windstorms come to our area. In a perfect world, this would be a great idea. In reality, I think that it cannot practically happen. I do speak from some experience on this subject.
I spent 30 years working for a telephone company with approximately 18 years as a design engineer. One of the costliest ventures that we ever went through was the burying of our cables. As with the PUD, we made developers of new areas provide us with the trenches for service to their projects. In most cases, the local municipalities dictated this also. There was just not enough money for us to put all of our lines underground at our cost.
In your article, you cited many projects for which the PUD had budgeted, but had not spent the dollars. In my opinion, the unspent dollars would not come close to the required monies to bury all of the transmission lines, unless something has occurred where the trenching and installation costs have somehow come down in the seven years since I retired, I do not see the PUD accomplishing a mass undergrounding project without passing the additional costs onto us ratepayers.
I'm kind of tapped out with more cost increases to just exist. My food is costing a lot more since the price of transporting food to the local grocery store has spiraled. I don't drive a whole lot anymore since I have to pay those same high gas prices. I'm waiting for the North Beach Water Company to bring improvements to my neighborhood since they gave us their rate increase. I cannot imagine how the county is going to make my life better with the increased taxes based on the new valuation of my property.
I have nothing but the utmost appreciation for the workers of the PUD. I did spend many cold, wet nights out there as a lineman and repair technician for the telephone company that I worked for. Maybe, we as property owners can do more to keep the trees on our properties trimmed and away from the overhead lines. Maybe we can have a telephone number to call if we see a potential problem that isn't under our control. Smarter minds than mine can come up with a workable solution that wouldn't cost as much as burying the lines. Thank you,