In many new suburbs around the world, power cable systems are being installed in a below ground conduit system rather than above ground. The initial costs are a bit high, which is why many city councils hesitate to transfer their above ground power cables to a below ground system. Yet, it’s also true that many people see the value in having these cables go below the ground. Here are some of the most commonly cited reasons:
- It’s visually unappealing. This may be a rather simplistic reason to pay for the expense of installing power lines underground, but it’s also a very compelling one. It’s why wealthier neighborhoods opt for below ground systems. It’s also nicer to look at a landscape unmarred by these ugly power lines.
- Trees won’t have to be cut down. These power lines need clearance so they can be laid out properly, and in many cases that will require cutting down trees in the way. Today’s world places greater emphasis on environmental issues, and such unnecessary cutting down of trees are no longer easily tolerated. Besides, trees also add to the beauty of a neighborhood. Trees can be allowed to regain their natural shape, and these can be very attractive.
- It increases property value. This is a direct consequence of the unsightliness of aboveground installations. When unsightly power cables and poles are removed, a neighborhood becomes more beautiful, and therefore a more desirable place to live in. One study found that in neighborhoods where power lines are evident, the property values could decline by 1 to 10 percent. Another study found that a property that’s next to a power line also lost an average of 6.3% in value.
- Reducing traffic hazards. Every year, hundreds of car accidents involve power and telecommunication poles. These accidents cost millions of dollars a year, and that’s not even factoring in the cost in human injuries and fatalities.
- Elimination of tree hazards. The proximity of power lines to trees can be dangerous for people, especially when these people are pruning their trees. There have even been some cases which have resulted in fatal electrocution.
Trees can also cause massive power cuts when there is a major storm that blows trees into power lines. This kind of damage can take many days to repair, and these repairs can also be extremely expensive. Having power lines cut down by trees can make life inconvenient for many people, and in the winter or summer it can be dangerous for older or sick people.
It’s quite obvious that a below ground system offers many advantages compared to a system above ground. While a below ground system may initially cost more, such expenses can be recovered eventually through the reduction of storm repairs plus the increase in the neighborhood property values. Besides, below ground is out of sight, and it just makes a neighborhood prettier and safer.
An electrical conduit is essentially a tube that is designed to route and protect electrical wiring in a building. It can be made of fiber, metal, or plastic. These are mostly rigid but some are flexible, depending on their purpose.
Conduit systems are installed by experienced electricians where electrical equipment is installed. Wiring regulations and building codes often stipulate installation details, forms and uses.