Our Climate Change Resiliency Plan
In 2019, we collaborated with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to conduct a sweeping, multi-year study to evaluate our present-day infrastructure, design specifications, and procedures against expected climate changes.
By gaining a better understanding of projected climate changes across our service area—including increasing temperatures, heavier precipitation events, sea-level rise, and extreme weather—we’re able to identify system vulnerabilities, prioritize investments, and strengthen our infrastructure.
In late 2020, we built upon the study’s findings by developing a formal Climate Change Implementation Plan, which outlines how we reviewed, and intend to continue to assess and adjust as necessary, our planning, engineering, operations, and emergency response practices to adapt to climate change.
Learn more about the proactive steps we took in 2020 to advance energy resilience in the face of climate change.
Our Resilience Journey
We have a proud legacy of learning and building back stronger following recent extreme weather events. In recent years, we’ve adopted an ever more forward-looking approach to system resiliency to ensure safe, reliable, and resilient energy through the 21st century, and beyond.
What does this mean for you? Fewer power outages when storms strike, and less damage to our equipment—so if the lights do go out, we can make repairs more quickly to get you back up and running sooner.
Storm Hardening: Ongoing
- We have spent more than $1 billion on storm hardening since 2012. This has helped us avoid nearly 683,000 customer interruptions to date. Over 150 projects have been completed across our service territory, including the installation of 100 miles of new cable, 4,000 poles, and 1,000 switches.
- Ensuring we have extra resources when our customers need us most. Nearly 1,000 additional contractors from all over the country are standing by to help us restore power after major events. We’ve also secured additional heavy equipment to fly crews in and get them to your neighborhood faster than ever.
- Partnering with the City of New York to prevent trees from interfering with our overhead power lines. In 2020, we allocated $13 million for tree trimming, and $1.5 million for hazardous tree removal, and will continue to take on additional tree removal with New York City Parks in 2021. We expect to invest an additional $1.2 million to assist with the removal of trees to protect our equipment and prevent power outages.
- Invested $32 million in new technology over the last five years to help customers be prepared, report service problems, and stay informed during emergencies. During Tropical Storm Isaias—the second most damaging storm in company history, with over 300,000 outages—emails, texting, and social media helped us communicate with customers more efficiently and effectively than ever before. We also received 17,000 damage reports through our mobile app from employees and contractors, which helped us enhance site safety and reduce outage times. While restorations were underway, four times more customers than usual visited the new version of the outage map, launched in June 2020. We listened to and learned from our customers to continue to improve our digital tools.
- Smart meters helped us mount a more efficient storm response by giving us near-real-time visibility into customer outages. During Isaias, smart meters helped us avoid nearly 4,000 truck dispatches, so we could send our resources to the areas that needed them most.
Analyzing Risks: 2017–2019
- Conducted a comprehensive review of climate change vulnerabilities across the electric, gas, and steam systems. This first-of-its-kind study established a foundational understanding of the risks facing Con Edison systems.
Changing Practices: 2020
- Established a climate change governance structure to continue to incorporate climate change into existing processes and practices.
- Developed the Climate Change Implementation Plan to systematically incorporate climate change into planning, design, operations, and emergency response practices.
A Resilient Future: 2021+
- Additional climate science studies.
- Refinement of tools, methods, and approaches in engineering and planning.
- Continuing to build resilience and adaptation into the business.
- New assets built with climate change in mind.
- Programs for existing assets to be updated to account for climate change.
Fortifying Our Future
Our work to make our systems more resilient to the effects of climate change is an ongoing process. Using the findings from the study and annual climate-change projections, our efforts to adapt will continue to evolve over time. These efforts will help us to maintain a safe working environment, support for our customers and communities, and operational excellence as the climate changes.
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