Good question! It is never a pleasant experience to go without power, and you can rest assured that every single day, we work hard to reduce the number of outages. In fact, in the past two years, our customers have experienced some of the lowest incidences of service interruptions on record.
Undergrounding is not the ideal solution. To underground all 97,000 km of our distribution lines, it would require a colossal investment of over 330 billion dollars! In normal conditions, undergrounding projects cost about $3,4M per kilometre, and this figure can be driven up by a number of factors: the complexity of the surroundings, the type of soil, the number of customers connected to the line, and even the number of telecommunications companies that also use our structures.
And even then, underground systems are not fully protected from malfunctions and breakdowns. As a matter of fact, when they do malfunction, it takes us longer to find and repair the problem, as the equipment in these systems is more challenging to get to.
That being said, we have put in place several measures to reduce the number of outages: we have set up the distribution management centre, implemented new methods to control the vegetation around the lines, installed remotely controlled protective equipment to restore power to our lines more swiftly, automated the processes to restore service, installed next-generation meters, which help us automatically detect outages, etc. And we are already reaping the results of these efforts!