MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Many of us in the Palmetto State know what it’s like when a storm hits, leaving some areas in the dark. But one state lawmaker thinks there could be a solution. Lawmakers say the bill they’re considering could help keep the power on during bad weather. The bill calls for burying all new power lines in cities and towns, and the same goes for all existing above-ground power lines in municipalities across the state by 2025.
Rep. Carl Anderson says this not only would be a great thing for homes within city limits during major storms and hurricanes, but it would also help with the aesthetics and safety aspect too. Anderson knows the challenge to this is of course, the cost. The spokesperson for Santee Cooper says it’s hard to predict how much burying all lines underground would cost because there are so many variables that come along with it. Right now Santee Cooper says in Myrtle Beach, most of Ocean Boulevard is underground and have underground projects in all their service territories. They say they’re already working with towns and cities in places where they see it’s most vital and have had great success so far.
“It would help to those persons that live in the city, you know, every time we have a storm, everybody says ‘I’m going to get a generator’ or people run out and buy generators. It would help them to know that well, hey my power may go out for a little while, but I’m not going to have extensive power outage,’ said Anderson.
The city of Myrtle Beach has set the tone for many nearby cities across the state. For about the past 20 years, the city has already required all new utility lines to be underground. They’ve also already partnered with Santee Cooper to bury older lines underground along Ocean Boulevard, which totaled nearly $30 million.
The city of North Myrtle Beach has also partnered with Santee Cooper to bury six miles of overhead electrical wires, at the cost of about $1 million per mile. The city of Myrtle Beach spokesperson says although the idea behind this bill makes sense, the cost and timeline are a major concern. Therefore on a statewide level, officials say this goal would be costly.
“Well a big part of that is the cost is a major challenge, but for those city and towns that are doing revitalization and all that stuff, this is a good time whether this bill passes or not, it’s a good time to go ahead and put it underground,” said Anderson.
The bill is still in the early stages and has been referred to the House Committee for Labor, Commerce and Industry for further discussion.