Keeping America’s Power On


Frum asks why the US doesn't greatly reduce power outages by burying its powerlines, like Germany does. He admits that burying is more expensive but argues that costs "can only be understood in relation to benefits":

As the climate warms, storms and power outages are becoming more common. And as the population ages, power failures become more dangerous. In France, where air conditioning is uncommon, a 2003 heat wave left 10,000 people dead, almost all of them elderly. If burying power lines prevented power outages during the hotter summers ahead, the decision could save many lives.

(Photo: Power lines hang from a utility pole snapped in half after heavy storms in the Washington, DC region on June 30, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. By Win McNamee/Getty Images)