reply to NormanS
Re: Pond scum subspecies Living in NJ, even before Sandy I can say that downed wires are extremely common, in CA I'm sure you don't have as many powerful storms as we do in NJ.
Some areas in NJ have underground wires, normally the richer areas, they don't lose power or phone as often as the areas served by poles, and even when they do, the power comes back much faster, because the problem is centralized, normally it's the transformer itself, downed lines take much longer and are more costly to fix.
In NJ we've always wanted underground wires, even more so since Sandy.
Does it cost more, yes obviously. But in some areas it really would make much more sense in the long run.