LETTER — We need a more reliable power provider

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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To the Editor:

The cooperative electric utilities have been a godsend to rural communities in America when few other private sector companies would serve because they could not make a profit.

I appreciate my local utility every day even when outages occur. So I hate to write this critical email about them concerning weather-related outages.

It’s easy to not bear any responsibility for weather-related outages. After all, that’s an act of God that the utility has no control over. I understand that it was the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to bring electric out to the country by just stringing up power lines. But the utilities have matured and it’s long overdue that they start replacing that system with an underground distribution system as if we all are going to be here tomorrow.

I lived in the north for 44 years and experienced only two outages in that time. I’ve been down here 37 years and experience outages all the time. One year six times. Sometimes I feel like I have a third world country utility that only provides only daytime electric when it’s not down. This is America, in the modern age, and this just doesn’t seem right.

Now I realize that the argument against underground utilities is cost. I do think that if the total cost borne by the consumer (direct and indirect) is tallied up, it’s not as unrealistic as it might seem. The utilities have the continuous costs of tree trimming; pole, insulator, crosstie, etc. renewal; storm damage repair; standby systems, fuel, and maintenance that the customers reluctantly purchase; their spoiled foods and other inconveniences to them; and those on medical support systems.
Other utilities, like telecommunications, put their cables underground.

Having electric is something I never take for granted, but we should be working for a more reliable system.

Ruiz Mango

Charlotte Court House