Con Edison outlined steps the company is taking in Westchester County to minimize power disruptions and expedite service restorations after major storms. Standing alongside a remote-controlled "smart switch" in the village of Larchmont, company officials said Con Edison plans to invest $1 billion in storm protection measures over the next four years in New York City and Westchester County. Approximately $476 million would be spent on the company's electric distribution system -- $130 million in Westchester alone.
To download a PDF detailing Con Edison's storm and summer investments, click here: www.coned.com/summer. Also check out this helpful video showing how the company works to restore customer service after a storm: http://www.coned.com/stormvideo
The investments would include design and equipment improvements to help minimize storm damage, with the goal of reducing the number and duration of electrical outages.
Superstorm Sandy caused more than 1 million customer power outages in Con Edison's service area, including more than 320,000 in Westchester County.
"Sandy was the worst storm ever to hit our region, but was only the latest in a series of violent weather events causing incredible damage to our energy delivery systems," said Con Edison Chairman and CEO Kevin Burke. "We are making critical investments in the county that will help to better protect our customers from these harsh weather systems."
As part of the storm protection plan, Con Edison has proposed investing $200 million to place approximately 30 mi of overhead power lines underground, about half in Westchester. The company will work with municipalities to identify electrical equipment serving emergency and healthcare facilities, community and cooling centers, and shopping malls with large supermarkets.
Burke also said Con Edison is working closely with the county executive and municipal officials to provide more detailed restoration plans after major storms.
Major elements of Con Edison's storm improvement plans for Westchester
- Installing hundreds of "smart switches" to isolate damaged equipment to help reduce the number of homes that lose power when a tree knocks down a power cable. Thirty-five switches have been installed, with plans for an additional 200 installations in the coming months.
- Installing 4,000 ft of stronger, tree-branch resistant aerial cable.
- Installing utility poles in storm-prone areas that are 15 percent stronger and able to withstand wind gusts of up to 110 mph.
- Deploying thousands of overhead isolation devices to reduce customer outages and facilitate faster restoration.
- Implementing a pilot program using special connectors, allowing customer service wires from the street to the home to detach easily, avoiding damage to utility poles or to the customer's home.
- Creating software for rapid damage assessment information on electronic tablets or hand-held devices.
Ready for Summer
In addition to the storm improvements, Con Edison is investing $1.2 billion this year overall to upgrade its electric delivery system and enhance reliability for hot summer months.
The electric peak demand forecast for this summer in Con Edison's service area is 13,200 MW, with a projected peak of 11,485 MW for New York City and 1,715 MW for Westchester County. The record peak -- 13,189 MW -- was set on July 22, 2011 at 4 p.m.
System-wide improvements underway include installation of 31 network transformers, six new feeders, 207 overhead transformers, and reinforcement of 46 feeders, 100 underground sections and 250 overhead spans. Upgrades to two unit substations also are in progress.