Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Power To No Name Key

To look at this scene you wouldn't necessarily see anything out of place, a just a few visitors enjoying an early winter day in the lower Florida Keys. However the power poles are completely out of place when you consider this is No Name Key.

When I bring Cheyenne out here for a walk I am not used to pulling off the road and finding a big cement pole sticking out of the hood. I guess tags changed and I had better get used to it now.

I don't come to No Name much in the summer as its hot and Cheyenne doesn't enjoy the backwoods in the summer heat. But this summer I have been following the trials and tribulations of bringing commercial electricity to this island.

What is profoundly weird is that the public utility Keys Energy has planted poles and strung wires and the courts and the count haven't yet decided if commercial lecture city should be supplied goths island for the first time.

To see the poles in place like this you'd think the matter was settled but it isn't. It's a long and. Arduous story as you might imagine, especially because the courts are involved.

On the front lines there are two sets of home owners, one lot that oppose bringing power to the island, and the other lot that forcefully demanded it be brought. It has long since struck me as odd that you'd buy an expensive home out here off the grid and then decide you really want electricity and go to court to get it.

Opponents of electrification say supporters are speculators hoping to increase the value of their holdings by bringing power to No Name where homes currently live with diesel generators and solar panels. This is not an alternative society of eco-warriors, oddly enough. No Name is a suburban community like any other with all modern conveniences except the power lines. They have underground phone and cable TV (!) lines already hooked up.

Then there is the Federal government which operates a nature preserve on the island to give free rein to the protected Key Deer and that supposedly is another reason to not have electrical development on the island. Or at least it's another reason for all interested parties to show up in court and argue about this stuff.

Meanwhile the utility company has blundered ahead for some reason and wired up everything as though the electrification of No Name Key is a done deal. All they have to do now is hook the island's new infrastructure to the grid at Neighboring Big Pine Key.

What they will do with all these poles if the courts rule against electrification I have no idea. Meanwhile life goes on in the usual uncomfortable way on No Name Key. Personally I like electricity and I will miss the grid when our civilization founders under the weight of greed and abuse we inflict upon it daily. I don't envy homeowners here who have to maintain loud smelly expensive generators and organize costly solar panels to do what I do at the flick of a switch.

And a nice off the grid hippy home here doesn't come cheap in case you were wondering. 2008 did some damage to prices of course but it's still pricey.

It is only an asking price and maybe if electricity comes prices will go up but that's only a maybe.

And the cause of all the trouble? They don't seem to care one way or the other.


As far as I am concerned electrification is ugly and I don't like the poles and wires, even though I do like the final product! People bought homes on the island knowing there was no electricity and yet some of them now expect everything to change. Change is good I remind myself daily. Perhaps but No Name doesn't look better.




Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

Any thoughts about the power lines in old town Key West? It reminds me of pictures of 3rd world countries' power lines or in the Caribbean.

William Lewis said...

I saw the photo of the house there for $299K. That reminds of the readings I have seen in how expensive it is to live there in the Keys. But looking at the price of that house it is a bargain as compared to those here by me. You cannot touch anything decent for under $400K by me.

Anonymous said...

Get used to the poles or go somewhere else. We are now hooked to the grid as we should have been years ago. If you really knew the reason poles weren't there before, your only have to look to the end of No Name Drive. There at the end fenced in is the woman who fought years to keep it out. Not because she is a tree hugger but really a NIMBY person. She tried to prevent homes being built near hers by deviously denying others what most people take for granted.

Buyers remorse at its worst.