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Mike Moon of Manassas, Va., electric department, says despite powerful storm, power stayed on thanks to underground lines

10:24 PM, Jul 19, 2012   |    comments
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MANASSAS, Va. (WUSA) -- In the days immediately after last month's derecho, which knocked out power to about two million customers in Virginia, Maryland and DC, most power company workers in the area were as busy as they've ever been, if not busier.

But not Mike Moon, or the dozens of people who work for him at the city of Manassas's electric department, which provides power to more than 15-thousand customers.

"The lights were on in Manassas," Moon said.

While the vast majority of the major power companies' customers were in the dark after the derecho, only about ten percent of Manassas residents were out of power, and only for a few hours. The reason? Simple: Underground power lines.

Of the 286 miles of power lines in the city of Manassas, 226 are now underground, or 79 percent, and the city is now involved in projects to bury the remaining 60 miles over the next forty years or so.

In the wake of the derecho, many D.C.-area residents and elected officials are once again calling on power companies to bury their lines.


For their part, the major power companies have long said that burying their lines would be far too expensive, and they point out that underground lines are not foolproof and very expensive to repair.

Mike Moon agrees with all that, though he says there's no arguing with the fact that the derecho, which had a hurricane-like effect on all of the D.C.-area's major electric companies, was not even the most significant storm of the season power-wise in Manassas.


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