Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson’s (D-104) bill directing the Public Service Commission to study the feasibility of burying all or most of the electrical, telephone, and internet transmission lines in New York passed the Assembly this week by a vote of 145 to 2.
Jacobson said, “As climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather, there is a corresponding increase in outages and their consequences. The cost of burying transmission lines pales to the inconvenience and costs to individuals and businesses every time there is a major storm. Workers lose time from work as businesses are forced to close due to loss of electricity and internet connection. People must throw out spoiled food. Schools must close.”
Jacobson introduced his bill after Tropical Storm Isaias caused widespread power outages across the Hudson Valley last summer. Thousands of residents were without power for multiple days in the middle of a pandemic while Central Hudson worked to restore service.
“Burying transmission lines will also encourage the transmission of hydroelectric power and wind power without the presence of unsightly transmission lines which currently foster opposition,” Jacobson added. “I am certain a study will show that burying these lines would ultimately save government, businesses, and ordinary citizens billions of dollars as well as human lives. In addition, the necessary work would create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs.”
From January 2012 to July 2020, New York State utility companies have spent close to $2 billion to restore service and repair damaged lines after a major storm.
• Central Hudson - $56,644,699
• Con Edison - $361,859,851
• Niagara Mohawk - $230,813,487
• New York State Electric and Gas - $425,121,532
• Orange and Rockland - $133,422,875
• Rochester Gas and Electric - $92,437,314
• PSEG Long Island - $587,746,807