Of Politics – the power grid & the value of your home…

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This is the second part of what will probably be an ongoing series on the state of Westchester’s power grid.  The first post on the power grid was written a little over a week after hurricane Sandy decimated the east coast.  At the time, many homes were still without power, heat and hot water throughout the impacted areas including much of Westchester NY.

At that moment I noted that areas where the grid was buried below ground had not suffered any loss of electrical power for any significant amount of time.  Downtown White Plains burned brightly while the suburban areas where the wires were on poles was still largely in the dark.  I said then, and I say now that its past time to begin the process of moving the grid below ground.   To that end, Paul Feiner, town supervisor of Greenburgh – an area heavily hit by outages – is having a meeting tonight at Greenburgh town hall.   This is a meeting that all homeowners should be interested in attending.  Because toughing up the grid is essential for the future of our county and the future value of our homes.

For Small or Large businesses – an unpredictable grid is a non-starter…

One of the things that makes Westchester a desirable destination is that businesses find the location highly desirable.  But that has become a tougher sell over the years.  High real estate prices and rents  along with high taxes have contributed to this problem.  But infrastructure problems also play a role.  One significant rain can flood roads and tie up traffic for hours.  Further, we are now prone to prolonged power outages that can go on for a week or more.  This is hardly the first time Westchester residents have been in the dark for prolonged periods.

For those who work for a salary and don’t run their own businesses, its hard to understand the extent of the impact a prolonged power failure has on a small or even a large business.  If you are salaried, that salary doesn’t stop.  Yes, you may have had to stay at a hotel  or perhaps you had to purchase a generator and buy fuel for it.  You might have a lot of spoiled food that you will have to replace.  Pets may have had to have been boarded.  But at least your income didn’t stop. Think about having all of the above happen while having things like payroll expenses going out when your income has gone down to zero.  That’s what every small business owner faces when the grid goes down.   Should this trend continue, small business people, myself included, will have to think long and hard about remaining in an area where the grid is so vulnerable to prolonged shut downs.

Home Buyers are starting to take notice and are requesting locations where the grid is buried…

This is starting to impact buyer behavior.  I’m already getting requests from buyers to limit their searches to where the grid is buried.  If that’s not possible, they at least want to be in an area where the grid has a history of holding up well.  It is true that even within areas where the electrical grid is exposed, some areas seem to fare better than others.

If there are more long term power failures, it will start to impact the willingness of buyers  to purchase in Westchester.  After all, the primary migration to Westchester is from New York City, Brooklyn and parts of Long Island.  If Westchester is prone to frequent and prolonged grid breakdowns, there will be a greater reluctance to move northward.  Various generational and lifestyle issues have already made lower Westchester a tougher sell than it has been in the past.  An unreliable grid will only make people more reluctant to move here.

What can home sellers do?

Well, if you are selling your home and you are located in an area where the grid is currently underground – you have bragging rights.  If your home has not experienced a major power outage in say three years – you might even want to mention it in your promotional material.   Make no mistake, this will be a selling issue that can work for you if you are located in an area where the grid is less vulnerable.  So don’t be shy about flaunting it!

For those home sellers who are not so fortunate, this is not a disclosure issue at this time unless a buyer specifically asks about it.  In this case, silence is golden.


© 2012 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – https://thewestchesterview.com – All rights reserved.

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