Governor signs bill to bury thousands of miles of power lines - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Governor signs bill to bury thousands of miles of power lines

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Downed power lines are a familiar sight for many after a storm, but what if those lines were somewhere trees couldn't reach? A new bill just signed by the governor hopes to cut down on the number of outages during bad weather.

Joel McKean says he knows all to well how rough mother nature can be.

"I had a 144-foot oak tree, that was about that old, fall on my BMW," said McKean.

He says downed trees and power lines are a regular occurrence in his neighborhood.

"We have these old trees, and the limbs come down and they break the lines, and then the transformer goes out and we're without electricity anywhere from several hours to several days," said McKean.

The longest was 19 days, following hurricane Isabel. That's why the idea of buried lines is music to his ears.

"It would be a lot better if they were all underground," said McKean.

The General Assembly approved and Governor McAuliffe signed legislation allowing for the underground power lines. The law is effective as of July 1.

Dominion plans to relocate 4,000 miles of power lines in the area's hardest hit by outages. People in Strafford Hills hope they're on the list.

Kathy Griffen hasn't lived in the area very long but says she was warned about power outages here.

"We're concerned, because we have the dilemma of 'should we buy a generator,' 'should it be a whole house or not' and it's a lot of expense for something that could be resolved," said Griffen.

She says she would welcome underground lines, even if it meant an added expense to her monthly bill. Joel McKean agrees.

"It's a balance between losing electricity - and that has cost associated with it - so over the years, it would spread out, so I think it would be worthwhile."

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