Can Someone Tell me Why People Call David Frum a Conservative?

D.C. loses power for a few days, and this guy says the solution is for the .gov to borrow tons of money to bury power lines. I’ve about had my fill of conservatives like this. We have overhead power lines coming down our street. I’d really prefer my neighborhood and property not be dug up to bury them. Hell, I’d wager it would be cheaper to buy everyone on the block generators for emergencies than to bury the lines in the neighborhood.

h/t to Instapundit, who normally I agree with on most things, but I just can’t stomach borrowing money we don’t have to fund something like this, even if I have to agree that most of Obama’s stimulus might as well have been flushed down the toilet.

10 thoughts on “Can Someone Tell me Why People Call David Frum a Conservative?”

  1. Things would have been less of a mess had government(s) had the foresight to bury lines rather than pissing money away on silly projects such as light rail, solar cells and other unicorn-like nicities.

    Frum is a fake conservative, for media savants to quote and make real conservatives look radical and crazy. A “thinking” conservative. Since the rest of us never think, we just cling.

  2. No one serious has considered Frum a conservative for years. If you cornered him I don’t think even he would maintain the charade.

    My State Senator is mad at Pepco too. Pepco (the prime DC electic company) has been crappy for some time. We get a weeklong ‘event’ every year now, like a 3rd world country. Pepco is trying to improve. They want to raise rates to help fund that. Guess what my State Senator is trying to kibosh.

    “bury the electric line, but charge less”

    Politicos need to make up their mind.

  3. While we’re at it, let’s not forget that Frum also said that the ONLY reason people are buying guns, and are more pro-gun, is that Rush Limbaugh told them to shoot black people. Frum needs to be stopped.

  4. Marginal cost. Burying lines is done during nice weather. The groundsmen and linesmen that work incredibly long hours after storms, they get paid year round. The labor costs for burying lines are pre-paid. The equipment to dig under sidewalks, roads, and other structures is already bought. The long-term savings for burying lines is huge. Buried lines are trouble when somebody cuts them, and if they overload and burn. Overhead lines are constant trouble.

    For long distances through forests and over mountains, overhead lines are cheaper (because it is too hard to dig there). Residential areas – easy to lay lines underground.

  5. Well, in VA the people who live in neighborhoods with overhead powerlines to each house are still sitting in the dark, while the areas with underground lines (though the main lines are still overhead) were back up in a day or two. So, it does matter.

    That said, if the next stimulus were directed at burying the past 60 years worth of local power lines (not impossible given that the most affected area was the capital city) most of the money would certainly go to graft and waste. It’s a Catch-22…

  6. I am an underground transmission engineer. Transmission class lines (69kV and up) are much different than the distribution you see in most neighborhoods (12-35 kV). Typical UG T-lines cost $8 to $30 million per mile depending on size. It gets much worse if you try to use them for backbone projects (Trail, PATH, MAPP). Overhead T-lines cost $1-2 million per mile. Typically UG lines are only used in developed areas where the cost of buying and demolishing property would exceed the capital cost difference.

    There are a number of differences in reliability, restoration, and operations but they generally wash, i.e. UG lines have 1/500th the outages, but a minor outage takes 4 weeks to restore instead of 4 hours.

    1. I think Frum was talking about burying even the 13kv lines in the neighborhoods. I’ve talked to some people from the UK and Germany and they all told me that their medium voltage stuff is mostly underground. But as Frum notes, our lower population density translates into much higher costs per ‘customer’ if we are to bury lines like they do in Europe.

      1. And of course if they bury the 13kv lines, all of the triplexed low voltage lines will have to be re-routed to pad mounted transformers. Each homeowner would have to pay for their service entrance to be redone.

  7. Frum is only a conservative to liberals. He’s just a tool they can use.

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