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Consumers Energy proposes plan to bury power lines

Power Lines
Alexander Clayton
Michigan Radio
Power Lines

Consumers Energy has proposed a plan to study cost-effective ways of moving hundreds of miles of power lines underground.

Buried lines are protected from common outage causes, such as falling tree limbs, ice, and heavy winds, but they can also be more costly to repair when they're damaged.

In a news release about the proposal, Consumers said in the future, it hopes to move about 400 miles of power lines underground each year. The company did not say when it expects to start that process.

The planned program is targeting work in six counties that have "frequent, lengthy outages and are in areas with dense trees." Those counties are Allegan, Genesee, Iosco, Livingston, Montcalm, and Ottawa.

"By moving these power lines from above ground to underground, we'll be essentially eliminating the threat or eliminating the risk of trees causing outages," said Consumers Energy spokesperson Josh Paciorek.

Consumers Energy said about 15% of its power lines are currently buried, mostly in subdivisions or urban areas with high population density.

Consumers Energy is among Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

Toussaint joined Michigan Radio in June 2022 as a newsroom intern and is currently working in his second summer. He is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C., majoring in journalism and minoring in Afro-American Studies.
Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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