7 Years Later Lines Not Buried Despite Power Fee - WSPA.com

7 Years Later Lines Not Buried Despite Power Fee

By Gordon Dill

It was the trees that did it.  Heavy ice broke the limbs that ripped the lines that left thousands of people shivering in the dark.

Back in December of 2005, they huddled together, stranded by the ice.

"People all came to our house because we had a gas hot water heater and a wood stove and I cooked on that wood stove," said Greenville homeowner Kathy Stenhouse.

Her North Main neighborhood was one of the hardest hit in a storm that left some people without power for days.

Perhaps time DOES heal all wounds.

Stenhouse's neighborhood is now just as it was before the storm.  The old trees have long limbs that tower over the above ground power lines.

Which means the risk from an ice storm hasn't changed.

That's despite payments from Duke Energy customers here that was supposed to fund efforts to move those lines underground.

"A lot of it depends on the people wanting it to be done," said Greenville city engineer Dwayne Cooper.

Cooper said that after years of collecting those fees, the big obstacle now is getting actual homeowners on board.

Now that the immediate threat has passed, the same people who once clamored for underground lines have grown more reluctant.

"A lot of times when they find out maybe there's been some landscaping or a driveway they don't want to get torn up they can't proceed," Cooper said.

The city has hired a public relations specialist who will help promote the underground line program which they call "weather the storm".

Residents who want lines buried can find the application here.



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