How Much Does it Cost to Bury Power Lines?
When power lines are buried, electrical power is transmitted using underground cables. Otherwise known as undergrounding, this type of power transmission is ideal for densely populated regions considering that it saves space and is aesthetically better than overhead cables.
How much does it cost?
- According to en.wikipedia.org, underground power transmission has a significantly higher cost and greater operational limitations.
- This type of electrical power transmission and distribution may decrease operational costs over the lifetime of cables. It is more expensive since the cost of burying cables at transmission voltages is greater than overhead power lines. The cost to bury power lines will be around $20 to $40 per foot. In highly urbanized areas, the cost of underground transmission can be 10 to 14 times more expensive than overhead cable transmission.
- Per home property, it could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 to have the lines buried. Keep in mind that some electric companies do not allow homeowners to bury the lines to their property.
- Moving power lines underground can cost as much as $2.1 million per mile in a city, with an average of $832,383 a mile in urban areas and $723,692 in suburban areas.
- On the other hand, a Dispatch.com article claimed that it could cost upwards of $832,000 per mile to have power lines buried.
What is going to be included?
- Electricity is transmitted at high voltages (110 kV or above) to reduce energy lost in long-distance transmission. Underground power transmission is sometimes used in urban areas or sensitive locations.
- Burying power lines includes the replacement of overhead cables providing electrical power with underground cables. This is usually performed for aesthetic purposes as well as safety purposes.
- Underground cables can transmit power across densely populated areas where land is expensive or environmentally sensitive.
- Burying power lines has the following advantages: (1) lesser risk to damage caused by severe weather conditions like lightning, wind, and cold; (2) reduced emission of electromagnetic fields; (3) needs narrower surrounding strip of 1-10 meters to install; (4) poses no hazard to low flying aircraft or wildlife; (5) lesser risk of theft, illegal connections, and sabotage.
What are the extra costs?
- There may be extra costs for repair and maintenance of burying power lines. In such instances, labor costs will also be included when professionals are hired to do the maintenance work. Unlike above ground wires, underground wires are hard to diagnosis and repair. Because of this, repairs can be costlier.
- Extra costs may also be incurred for additional power lines.
- If the power lines were to be buried, additional fees of up to $1,000 may have to be paid out to the electric company.
Tips to know
- If outages do occur with underground wires, the outages will last longer than wires above ground since they are harder to access and therefore harder to repair.
- Before investing in burying power lines, make sure that you have carefully assessed whether it would fit your needs. As you can see, it can get rather costly to have power lines buried.
- If you have your power lines buried it is very important to put the appropriate signage saying so. If a company comes in to do any other type of work, even something simple like installing a fence, it is very important that they know the whereabouts of the buried power lines.
How can I save money?
- You can save money in the long run by observing proper use of energy through conservation of electricity in your home.