Underground Versus Overhead

Posted: May 10, 2022 at 1:46 pm

Ever wonder how we could have fewer outages due to winter storms, or from cars hitting poles? One solution used across the globe is undergrounding cables. Placing cables underground improves our visual environment by reducing the eyesore of power lines. Also, the underground cables are not susceptible to tree branches and high winds as compared to our current overhead lines.

The drawback to undergrounding our lines is cost. At Elmhurst, we all benefit from among the lowest costs of electricity in the nation. Undergrounding lines is very expensive. As these underground lines age, the cost to repair and replace them is very high compared to our overhead system. Additionally, our power is delivered to Elmhurst from overhead transmission lines. These overhead lines would remain susceptible to outages even if we undergrounded all the Elmhurst system.

Your Elmhurst Team continues to recommend to the Elmhurst Board that we remain primarily an overhead system. This keeps the cost down for our Members but results in occasional outages. Some new subdivisions and Commercial locations may be undergrounded, but these costs are paid for by the project developers, not by our entire customer base. Your Elmhurst Board has considered this decision carefully.

The Elmhurst team will continue to work diligently during storms and car-pole events to ensure that your power is quickly and safely restored. We thank our customers for your patience and understanding as we continue to keep your costs low and your reliability high.