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Let's Put Our Power Lines Below Ground

January 13, 2003

Re "Fierce Winds Spark Fires Across the Southland," Jan. 7:

In the last week, they have caused fires that destroyed homes, damaged property and cost millions. One after another they hit cars and trees and narrowly missed people. A passing Metrolink train caught one, ripped down two dozen more and flipped over an occupied automobile. A Glendale Water and Power employee died after falling 40 feet.

The culprit was not only the Santa Ana "devil" winds. It was the above-ground power poles and lines.

These hideous vestiges of the early and mid-20th century blight the scenery everywhere they appear. And every time there is inclement weather or an earthquake in Southern California, they wreak havoc: 730,000 or more customers lost power in the two-day windstorm. In these already tough times, many suffered due to lost business productivity and spoiled food.

Whether the lines are maintained by Edison or municipal utilities, top priority should be given to getting all power lines underground, as they already are in newer neighborhoods. The funds would be better spent sooner, rather than later on quick fixes and lawsuits. Lives, livelihoods and property would be spared. And it surely would be a tremendous improvement to the view.

Nancy Lloyd Barrett

Corona

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