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Hydro wires underground?

NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns floats the idea to make electric system stronger

Your Hydro rates would skyrocket up to ten times what they are now if Toronto Hydro decided to put wires underground.

It's an idea floated around by NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns, who also supported the prospect when he was a city councillor in the 90s.

Tabuns says the electric system needs to be changed so infrastructure is more capable of withstanding extreme weather. He also wants better stand-by generation for facilities like hospitals.

While Toronto Hydro Spokesperson Tanya Bruckmueller says putting wires underground is feasible, it's not likely to happen any time soon.

The most recent cost estimate they have is from 1998 after the ice storm which gripped Eastern Ontario and Quebec. The pricetag is $2 billion.

Bruckmueller says the good thing about overhead wires is that they are easy to repair. Finding and fixing problems underground would be more difficult. Underground systems are also more susceptible to floods.

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  1. karen posted on 01/08/2014 07:05 AM
    At a cost of $2,000 per home, or about $10 a month amortized over 20 years, the cost would be feasible, but bad news for unions, possibly the real message here. Knocking delivery costs down by removing the need to repair downed wires might well turn underground wires into a money-maker very quickly.
    1. Jim posted on 01/08/2014 08:08 AM
      @karen Are you naive or just stupid? A $2 billion estimate is first of heading for 20 years old. Even with just inflation you can add at least a half billion dollars. Given that this is a government outfit add at least another $2 billion. Not to mention the economic losses sustained to to the service disruptions as well as the mess this kind of construction program would have on businesses. This plan would easily cost the city 10 to 15 billion. Not worth it.
  2. Galileo posted on 01/08/2014 10:20 AM
    I sure wish people would stop looking at raising costs in isolation.
    It's "just" an additional $10/month to bury the wires. La la la la...

    And the property tax increase will only be a modest $10/month.
    And the cost of water will only increase by a modest $10/month.
    And the revenue tools to build transit will only be a modest $10/month.
    And the natural gas increase will only be a modest $10/month.
    And the increase in the price of food will only be a modest $10/month.
    And the increased price of the TTC/GO/VIA will only be a modest $10/month.
    And on and on it goes.

    Sorry, my income isn't rising that fast. Not even modestly.
  3. Angry Bill posted on 01/08/2014 12:55 PM
    At times like this, I can't help but think back on Nikola Tesla, and his ideas about the distribution of power. If only we'd listened to him decades ago, we wouldn't be having these issues, and power would be cheap. Assuming, of course, that his ideas work.. And I haven't really come across anything disproving his ideas. So until I do, I'll keep on considering Tesla's ideas of power distribution to be the holy grail. It'll never happen, of course, because the big power conglomerates would go broke. Cheap power? No one wants that.
  4. dama posted on 01/08/2014 05:18 PM
    This is an engineering issue and I bet there are some engineers out there that are able to come up with some heating element "hose" that these cables can be inserted
    with a low voltage that can melt ice.

    Why cant they use those house gutters wires that melt snow technology?

    Will be much cheaper than putting it under ground..
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