fiber optic

NYPA Advances Upgrades to Digital Communications for State-Owned Power System

Multimillion Dollar Investment in Fiber Electronic Services Bolsters Reliability of Electric Power System

The New York Power Authority last week announced the approval of a $14 million fiber-electronics equipment and installation services contract to improve the efficiency and reliability of the statewide electric power system.

The seven-year agreement will support NYPA’s multiphase Communications Backbone program, first announced in 2017, which involves installation of fiber optic cables and other communications systems throughout  NYPA’s more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission infrastructure and 16 clean hydroelectric and natural gas facilities.

“With the Power Authority’s Communication Backbone program, NYPA is literally working to create the telecommunications spine of our new, fully-digital utility,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “Along with additional sensors currently being deployed across our facilities, we are building the next generation utility that will be more reliable and responsive to dynamic conditions on our power lines.”

The NYPA Board of Trustees authorized the contract award to Light Speed Technologies of Wall Township, N.J., at its Dec.11 meeting.

Work on the Communications Backbone program is currently underway on NYPA transmission lines and substations across the state. It is tied to a Sensor Deployment program, which is taking place concurrently and aims for attaining 117,000 data points, or units of information, for monitoring NYPA equipment. Together, the programs are helping to realize Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy for building a cleaner, resilient and reliable energy system throughout the state.

When the Communications Backbone Program is complete in 2021, the Power Authority will have a dedicated, robust, secure and scalable communication network connecting all its facilities. The network will replace previous technology, increase the quantity and quality of available information on NYPA’s physical assets, and communicate potential equipment problems remotely.

The program, which is estimated to cost approximately $158 million, will also lead to better analytics and improved operations and business decisions. In addition to anticipated savings from improved operational efficiency, the Power Authority expects additional net savings of approximately $17 million over 20 years by moving away from commercial telecommunications providers.

The program will also employ digital microwave systems as well as tie-ins to existing, dedicated fiber communication infrastructure.

The Communications Backbone initiative is a foundational element in the Power Authority’s smart generation and transmission and asset management strategic initiatives and a critical component in NYPA’s ambition to become the first end-to-end digital utility in the United States.

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