Monthly Archives: March 2014

Renton Up In Arms at City Council Meeting

Renton residents demand better and more honest answers from PSE regarding putting the proposed transmission lines underground: Residents give PSE officials an earful during council presentation – Renton Reporter.

From the article:

“As for putting the wires underground, [PSE spokesman] Wappler said that would be a ‘major construction project’ that could disturb much more land for a longer period of time than above-ground wires. He also said that while putting wires underground means fewer (but potentially longer) outages, under current regulations, the reliability issue is secondary to the aesthetic benefits and therefore the communities that choose to place wires underground would be responsible to pay.” [huh? I would like to know where in the regulations Wappler finds language like that.]

and: “Wappler said placing the lines underground increases construction costs from $3 million – $4 million per mile to $20 million to $28 million per mile. And because the decision to go underground we [sic] be an aesthetic choice made by the community, under Washington state law, the additional costs would be borne by the community.” [huh?]

That is one more thing Wappler keeps misrepresenting: it is not some grand “Washington state law” passed by the legislature that Wappler refers to when arguing PSE’s hands are tied regarding underground lines; rather, it is the PSE’s own crafted tariff 34(b)(ii) that puts the cost of under-grounding onto others other than PSE, a tariff no doubt slipped past and rubber-stamped by the UTC among the many pages of PSE’s 2006 submitted tariff schedule.

NPR Story Notes Nobody Has Done Sufficient Benefits Analysis of Putting Power Lines Underground

From the article:

“So the bottom line is — nobody knows the bottom line. Nobody’s gone past the cost side of the cost-benefit analysis. Even if cities like Seattle had the money for undergrounding, there’s no way to know if it’s a good investment, and they have little incentive to change how things are done.” Full text: If Power Lines Fall, Why Don’t They Go Underground_ – NPR

Hazards in Interaction between Power and Gas Lines

From the article at, full text here: WebPage:

“Powerlines can induce currents in metallic objects adjacent to the line. This effect is particularly prominent in corridors with long parallels. In addition to causing communication interference, audible crackling noise, and shock hazards, electric transmission lines can contribute to the corrosion of buried pipelines and cable sheaths under certain conditions. Finally, ’fault currents’ can float to the ground from the power lines (e.g., through lightning strikes) and move along the pipeline or buried cable, resulting in equipment damage and possible pipeline rupture which can lead to ignition and shock hazard…”


Study on Underground Transmission Lines by Wisconsin Public Service Commission

Comprehensive document on types and locations of underground power lines, created for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission: electric11

From the document, on p. 21:

“The most non-debatable reason for choosing underground is in highly urban areas, where acquiring ROW [rights of way] that meets National Electrical Safety Code requirements is difficult or impossible. This makes the added cost of undergrounding acceptable to not being able to route the new line at all.”

In many jurisdictions the National Electrical Safety Code is adopted as law. It is recognized everywhere in the U.S. as setting minimally acceptable standards of safety. An engineer in Newcastle asserts that the widths within which PSE plans to construct and operate the proposed new poles and wires along either L or M are not wide and safe enough to comply with the National Electrical Safety Code.

Also, on pages 7-8 there is reference made to transition stations which some say would be required for putting lines underground for this PSE project, but the document says that would be required only for lines transmitting 345kV or higher. This project contemplates 230kV.



Welcome to our website, created by those of us in all 18 corridors currently under consideration by PSE for siting huge, unsafe and ugly high-tension 230kV power lines through our residential neighborhoods. We strongly feel that we need to have our own independent dialog outside of the PSE’s “outreach” PR efforts if we expect to get all the facts in an unbiased and honest way. Share your knowledge and views with your neighbors here.

This is a site that was launched on March 26, 2014 and will grow as more people get involved. Suggestions for topic areas beyond those set up here will expand based on your input.

All points of view are welcome, subject to two simple site rules: no profanity is tolerated, nor defamatory language directed at specific persons.

Citizens for Sane Eastside Energy is a Washington non-profit corporation.