Your Nov. 5 Maine Sunday Telegram article “CMP: 1998 ‘lessons’ improved storm response” (Page B4) was far too easy on Central Maine Power’s management approach to preventing widespread outages; much more than tree-trimming is needed.

The only way to avoid the physical risks and colossal expense of downed wires is to move key segments of CMP’s aerial plant underground. This publicly-regulated utility should be required to develop a capital plan to do so over a reasonable period of time.

Naturally, CMP will try to make the case that the effort would be too expensive, but that case needs to be investigated. The cost of bringing hundreds of trucks and thousands of workers from out of state during every recovery effort must be staggering. These avoidable costs must be at least partially baked-in to CMP’s rates already (or there would be storm surcharge after every event).

Frankly, CMP’s costs are a fraction of the overall cost of a widespread outage. Lost productivity, wages, and expenditure on temporary power – all of these should be factored in, along with the risk to life during every outage. The Brunswick section of the grid alone seems to lose power more often than Baghdad. It’s long past time to do something about it.

Ralph Dean