Con Edison’s post-Sandy storm hardening improvements have spared customers 20,000 outages so far this year, including 5,000 of them in Westchester over the July 4 weekend.
“The post-Sandy storm hardening improvements are paying service reliability dividends for our customers,” said Robert Schimmenti, Con Edison’s vice president of Engineering and Planning. “Devices installed on our overhead system isolate damage on our lines so that when outages occur, fewer customers are affected.”Con Edison has installed thousands of sectionalizing fuses on its overhead system, as well as reclosers that are also known as “smart switches” (pictured). These initiatives are part of the company’s $1 billion investment to protect its systems from severe storms.
The fuses create a controlled isolation point on electrical lines. This becomes the first point of isolation when a fault occurs, which can be due to a tree or branch falling, a lightning strike, or other storm-related damage. These devices allow Con Edison to design where the breaks in circuits occur, limiting the number of affected customers.
These reclosers, or “smart switches,” also are more complex devices that can clear temporary faults, such as a fallen tree branch that momentarily touches a line. The recloser instantly restores service so Con Edison doesn’t need to send a crew to fix the damage.
The new equipment helped Westchester customers affected by storms over the July 4 weekend, as seven fuses limited outages in the cities of Yonkers and New Rochelle, the villages of Briarcliff Manor and Mount Kisco, and in the Town of Mount Pleasant.
Storm-hardening projects will continue into 2015 and 2016, further improving the reliability of the company’s systems.