Quick Takeaways

  • The United States electric grid consists of both under and above ground power lines, though it is actually 3 separate grids in practice: Eastern, Western, and Texas.
  • Climate change is one of if not the top concern when it comes to the power lines in the United States – extreme weather events in recent years have shown how vulnerable our system is to ice storms, hurricanes, flooding, and fires
  • Burying powerlines, installing fire resistant poles, and implementing more renewable energy sources are all on the horizon as solutions to power line vulnerabilities  

Source: How Does the U.S. Power Grid Work? (Council on Foreign Relations)

Though they provide a basic necessity for modern living, power lines are not always welcome in neighborhoods. Aside from the lack of visual appeal, many are worried about the high level of electricity surging so close to their homes, specifically EMF (Electric & Magnetic Fields) exposure. Radiation is one the highest levels of EMF frequencies, while power lines fall somewhere lower than a computer, and much lower than a cell phone or wireless internet.

For the reasons mentioned above, there are concerns that living too close to large power lines may reduce the property value of your home. Data is somewhat hard to come by because the issue is very much a personal preference. Often, homes where the power lines would be enough of a visual nuisance to cause a problem have a pristine ocean/mountain/lake view.

The rise of extreme weather events in the last decade has catapulted power lines into the world of many homeowners, especially after forest fires, unusual deep freezes, and unprecedented flooding have wreaked havoc on the power grid like never before. Burying power is already underway, and will most likely increase in the future. 

See References for more information.

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