Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hey, Toronto. Time You Went Underground.

In my neighbourhood we don't have any overhead wires.  They're all buried - phone, cable and electric.  You don't notice it until you pass through a neighbourhood where they're not and that comes to your attention immediately.

Maybe it's time you folks in Eastern Canada went underground because the crippling ice storm you've just endured may become a routine occurrence.  A Toronto Hydro study last year predicted just that.

I saw a great explanation of how the east got hammered on the weather segment of BBC News.  It was -7 in Toronto while, 400 miles to the south, if was +20.   That's the sort of thing we get these days thanks to the Polar Jet.  Where the two met it created a massive ice storm.  Being slow moving, west to east, it built up enough to bring down trees and hydro lines.

According to the G&M story, however, your utilities figure going underground is just too costly.  They would prefer to adapt by replacing old wires and focusing on pruning trees.   Besides, they argue, putting that wiring underground would just leave it vulnerable to future flooding (that must be their other study).

Oh well, good luck.  Keep your chins up and remember, climate change is a hoax.


Lorne said...

It would seem, Mound, that we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Such is the price for ignoring climate change, I guess. The magnitude of the storm's damage that we experienced in the East, unfortunately will simply be written off by our 'leaders' as one of those freak weather events.

Society will continue to bury its collective head in the sand until that too is flooded.

The Mound of Sound said...

There was a day, Lorne, when we weren't inclined to capitulate quite so immediately. It's easy to see in Toronto Hydro's statement how we won't be adapting to climate change. It's cheaper to fix things now, while there's still time, than it will be twenty years from now.

LeDaro said...

Indeed the weather has been extreme especially it was hard on coastal areas in Maritimes.

All the new wiring from last decade or so are underground. The above ground are 20+ years old. It is hard to put them underground as there is natural gas pipeline (underground) all over the place especially in urban areas. It will be good idea to put the wires underground but it is not easy.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi,LD. The Brits have gone underground for many decades. In London, utilities are bedded in sand beneath the sidewalks. When access is required they simply lift the pavers.

LeDaro said...

Mound, we need to learn from Brits. Imagine it is -20c and no electricity and no heat. Coastal communities got plenty of icy stuff and caused serious problems. Some folks are still without power.

Mark said...

"According to the G&M story, however, your utilities figure going underground is just too costly... Besides, they argue, putting that wiring underground would just leave it vulnerable to future flooding..."

Nothing breeds excuses like inertia.

The Mound of Sound said...

Our provincial government actively exhorts us to become "preppers." Because the Big One is already overdue they've gone to some lengths to instil earthquake awareness in the island communities.

We know that we could be on our own for weeks while government rescue resources are focused on the west coast of the island that's expected to be hardest hit.

We're given checklists that include fire extinguishers, first aid kits, plenty of spare batteries, candles, tinned food, fresh water, etc.

Realizing that we might have to get through a good stretch without gas or electricity, I replaced my gas fireplace with a high-efficiency wood insert. I keep a couple of cords of firewood so I'd be fine for warmth for many weeks. I also have two large bags of charcoal so I can keep cooking. Fortunately we've got an abundance of seafood here and you can always take your fill of deer. Freshwater comes straight off the mountain. I am lucky but you have to prepare.

If I lived on the East coast I'd definitely invest in a wood stove.

The Mound of Sound said...

Mark, I doubt there's a problem today that can't and won't be kicked down the road so long as there's still more road.

Anonymous said...

What is this? Many people in the Maritimes and Newfoundland still do have wood stoves and know how to prepare for what has hit them now. Funny thing how people forget how it was 50 years ago. Oh….that doesn't mean I deny global weather change.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think that's great, Anon. Older homes often have that wood stove advantage. Modern homes are all about climate control which usually means oil, gas or electric heat. Where I am it's mainly electric with some, but not much, gas heating.

Anonymous said...

Most morden homes in Newfoundland have a wood stove in the basement and a small cast iron fire place in the living room. We remember ice storms and severe winter storms from years ago. The stove in the basement and sometimes found in the kitchen next to the electric stove, can be used for cooking and heating water…smart people if you ask me.