The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees approved the award of on-call construction contracts, totaling $93 million, to four firms for the installation of new digital communication systems on NYPA transmission lines, improving the efficiency and reliability of the New York State electricity system.
The contract supports NYPA’s multiphase Communications Backbone initiative, first announced in 2017, which involves the installation of fiber optic cables and other communications systems connecting NYPA’s 16 power generating facilities, 1,400 miles of transmission infrastructure, the White Plains office and the Integrated Smart Operations Center.
“The Power Authority operates one-third of the high voltage transmission infrastructure in New York State and these upgrades will improve the reliability and efficiency of NYPA’s transmission system and New York’s electric grid,” says Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “The Communications Backbone plays a vital role in advancing NYPA’s goal of becoming the nation’s first end-to-end digital utility, allowing us to be more informed and responsive to changing conditions and emergencies on our power lines.”
The NYPA Board of Trustees today approved the five-year contract to four firms: J.W. Didado Electric LLC of Akron, Ohio; Henkels & McCoy Inc. of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania; M10, Inc (Michels Corporation) of Neenah, Wisconsin; and PAR Electrical Contractors Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri.
The Communications Backbone initiative is currently underway across the state. It replaces legacy leased communication circuits with new infrastructure that will increase the bandwidth available as more digital assets and sensors come online via a concurrent sensor deployment program aimed at adding about 100,000 data points—or units of information—for monitoring NYPA equipment. Together, the programs bolster the Governor's comprehensive agenda to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and growing the clean energy economy.
When the Communications Backbone initiative is complete, the New York 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 initiative, which is estimated to cost approximately $153 million in total, will lead to better analytics and improved operations and business decisions.
In addition to anticipated savings from improved operational efficiency, the initiative will yield additional net savings through the installation of fiber-optic cables and remote sensors that will allow NYPA to connect and communicate with its generation and transmission assets, resulting in a reduced reliance on commercial telecommunications providers.
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.