JPSCo Rules Out Underground Lines


The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo) has ruled out running its electricity transmission lines underground.
Speaking with JIS News, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Damian Obligio, said that to build underground lines would cost seven to 10 times the cost of the overhead lines.
Maintaining that overhead lines remained the best option, despite Jamaica’s location in an area frequently affected by hurricanes and windstorms, the CEO pointed out that “the tariff for underground lines would go up significantly and in the event of a disaster affecting those lines, the restoration process would be longer.”
“You would have to build inspection chambers underground, which can be flooded and it will take longer to remove the flood water and dry them,” he explained.
Citing countries that had underground transmission lines, Mr. Obligio said that “if you check any of the big cities with underground cabling, you can verify that it takes longer to restore service after a disaster.” He added that as a result, big cities double their infrastructure, meaning they have overhead and underground cables, so they can alternate transmission.
Mr. Obligio pointed to several other factors which would not make underground cabling feasible for the country. “In Jamaica, the ground is rocky and the streets are narrow,” he noted, adding that regular cutting of the streets to lay cables would make matters worse after every disaster.

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