Con Edison Close To Completing $1 Billion In Post-Sandy Storm Protections

 Four years after Hurricane Sandy caused more customer outages than any storm in Con Edison's long history, the energy company is on schedule to complete $1 billion in upgrades to protect its systems from severe weather events.

The company has installed submersible equipment that can withstand flooding, redesigned underground electrical networks, installed more than 1000 "smart" switches on its overhead system, and taken numerous other steps to avoid outages in major storms.

Those measures have already prevented more than 180,000 electrical outages.

Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York the evening of Oct. 29, 2012, bringing massive flooding and fierce winds. The hurricane and a Nor'easter that followed the next week caused 1.1 million customer outages in New York City and Westchester County.

Just 14 months earlier, Hurricane Irene hit New York, causing more than 200,000 customer outages.

The two storms prompted Con Edison to seek approval for its four-year Fortifying the Future storm hardening program.

Con Edison has spent $847 million on the upgrades, including $291 million in 2016, the last year of the program.

A key upgrade to the overhead electrical system is the installation of "smart switches" designed to isolate and clear trouble on lines. The result is fewer homes and businesses losing power when a tree, wind or heavy, wet snow brings down a line.

In Lower Manhattan, Con Edison redesigned two electrical networks, allowing operators to leave inland customers in service when the operators have to de-energize equipment to protect it from flooding.

Con Edison's program also includes:

  • Installation of 1,000 easily detachable electrical wire service connections, reducing damage to customers' property and utility poles.
  • The installation of 3,500 isolation devices on the overhead system that break a circuit if the amount of current becomes too high.
  • Installation of 400 submersible 460-volt network protectors.
  • Installation of more than 450 submersible 120/208 transformers and network protectors.
  • More than 3.3 miles of flood walls around critical equipment in electric substations and steam generating stations.
  • More than 3,500 expansive foam seals in conduits, and 270 watertight flood doors in electric substations and steam generating stations.
  • Large steam distribution system isolation valves have been installed to minimize customer impact. Flood gates and pumps have also been installed to prevent storm surges from the East River and Hudson River from impacting the steam production stations.
  • Replacement of 10 miles of flood-prone gas lines, measures to prevent flooding in five tunnels that house utility lines, and hardening of two gas regulator stations.

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