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Keller @ Large: Solution Needed To End Long Power Outages

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Utility trucks lined up in Raynham before heading out for repairs from the blizzard.

Utility trucks lined up in Raynham before heading out for repairs from the blizzard.

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Here we go again with the inconvenience, the cost, the outright suffering of tens of thousands of us living in what we’re told is one of the most technologically-advanced, politically-sophisticated places on earth, but which turns out to be a place where a nasty snow or ice storm or period of high wind can leave huge numbers of us in the dark for days, or, sometimes, even weeks.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Why does this keep happening?

Simple. The vast majority of our power lines are above-ground, and when the elements start knocking down tree branches, down come the power lines, out goes the power, and up goes our blood pressure.

So here’s a silly question: why don’t we bury the power lines underground, where the weather can’t get at them?

According to the Worcester Business Journal, that question was raised to state energy secretary Richard Sullivan after a snowstorm in 2011 left close to 700,000 homes without power, and he said he had been told by Thomas May, the CEO of NStar, that it could cost up to a trillion dollars.

But the Journal did some research and calculated that the actual cost would be closer to $100 billion – less than a tenth of the CEO’s casual estimate.

One hundred billion dollars. That’s a lot of money, but not out of reach if we just get creative about it.

Here’s an idea to get the conversation started.

According to one website, we have the fifth-highest percentage of millionaires in the country living in our state,142,000 of them, including Mr. May of NStar and, no doubt, other energy industry executives.

I say, let’s have a bake sale, exclusively for all those millionaires, reasonably priced at a million dollars per cake or plate of cookies. All they have to do is buy one item, and presto – $142 billion, more than enough to bury those power lines and end the insanity.

This little project would create lots of new jobs, too.

So what do you say, millionaires? You can save us all from this repetitive heartache, and enjoy some tasty treats while doing so.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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