That’s not the only cost, either. Repairing underground systems is often more expensive than repairing those suspended in the air. “When the power goes out, there are two obstacles that [utility] faces before they can fix the line," Kury says. "One, identification of the fault, and then two, access to the line." While smart grid technology is making identification easier—devices could tell the utility exactly where in the system a given disruption lies—access to underground systems is hindered. Repairs often require disruptive digging, which is only made more difficult by frozen soils in a blizzard or floodwaters that often follow hurricane-force winds.