Powering a City Underground

Denton leads state in underground power lines

Denton leads the state in the percentage of underground power lines, burying what some residents call unattractive.

Power lines tower above communities, and many people see them as an eyesore.

"They are kind of like an eyesore that we don't really think about too much," resident Will Milne said. "They are kind of like big and ugly."

Brian Daskam, of Denton Municipal Electric, said more than 50 percent of the city's distribution lines are underground.

"They look better, but they also offer us better reliability," he said. "If a wind storm or ice storm came through that could potentially take out overhead lines, those underground lines are protected."

As Denton grows and new developments pop up, it's easy for the city to put power lines underground. But it's a little more difficult in existing neighborhoods.

"To try to bury the distribution lines there would cause a lot of logistical problems, because now you've got to bury the service to homes, and that is going to disrupt homeowners," Daskam said.

Despite the benefits of underground lines, there is a downside, Daskam said.

"If you do get a problem with an underground line, it's not as easily accessible as an overhead line," he said.

Still, some residents say it's worth the risk.

"That would be nice if there wasn't anything we had to see power line-wise, but maybe that might be me being a little too minimalist," Milne said.

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