In over three decades in Lexington I have been without power for days at a stretch several times. I know the problems and inconvenience so I know what people in the Mid-Atlantic states are going through this week after those freak storms swept through.
I suspect, as restoration of power lengthens, there will be calls to cut down more and more trees because in many cases it was a downed tree limb that caused the power outage. These calls need to be rejected and we need to think about, not just the value of trees, but how to best solve outages--long range.
Trees not only provide us beauty, but shade; as I drove around town last week I knew, almost instantly when I entered an area with trees...my inside car temp just dropped, and quickly. Trees also clean the air of impurities. Trees add value to our property. We need them--big time, long term.
But we are all downstream when a limb falls and takes out our power. And we want the power back on instantly. Utility crews must work quickly to restore power and not be concerned with long term solutions.
But we should be...and so should our power companies and our state Public Service Commission. Kentucky Utilities keeps telling us the high costs of burying power lines..which is the obvious solution. Too costly, KU says. But has KU cost accounted the 3 times within the last decade and a half of burying the lines versus what it cost those 3 times to make "temporary" repairs? Not to my knowledge, and neither the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government nor the PSC has asked them to do so. Do so!
Then we will have a much better, more practical basis to decide if the costs of burying lines now--versus bringing in crews from many states, which KU has had to do several times recently, makes economic sense.
And, as my councilman Bill Farmer wisely suggests, areas of Lexington will soon have their streets torn up because we must upgrade our sewer and water lines under a federal court decree--so this is the time to require power, phone, cable, etc to get together and bury each line at the same time...at far less cost and disruption than each doing it separately. (This is making lemonade, truly).
It's time to prod the council and the PSC to start burying power lines, and more, before the next (and the next and the next...) storm comes through and takes out the power.
We are all downstream, but in this case we can do something about it.
I'm just sayin'...