Con Edison is considered a leader when it comes to enhancing the reliability and resilience of our energy system against climate change impacts. For decades, we have responded to major weather events that include hurricanes, nor’easters, heat waves, and coastal flooding by making investments to reduce weather-related outages. However, due to the changing climate, our service territory will experience increasing temperatures, heavier rainfall, sea level rise, and more climate impacts in the coming years.
We have a proud legacy of learning and building back stronger following extreme weather events. In recent years, we’ve adopted a more forward-looking approach to system resiliency to allow for 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.
In September 2023, we built on our previous efforts with an updated Climate Change Vulnerability Study to utilize the latest climate projections and build on our understanding of the climate change risks that could affect our infrastructure and customers. This updated study presents an enhanced prioritization of which climate hazards may impact the electric system, as well as potential adaptation strategies that will be further evaluated in our November Resilience Plan.
In November 2023, Con Edison released a new Climate Change Resilience Plan. This plan is a comprehensive long-term roadmap of adaptation measures for each relevant climate vulnerability, and the steps we plan to take in order to address these hazards.
Our Resilience Journey
In 2019, we collaborated with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to release a landmark Climate Change Vulnerability Study—a sweeping, multi-year review of 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, we have been better able to identify system vulnerabilities, prioritize investments, and strengthen our infrastructure.
In late 2020, we built on the 2019 Study’s findings by developing a formal Climate Change Implementation Plan, which established the Company’s processes for governance and strategic management of our resilience efforts. This includes managing climate risk and reviewing our planning, engineering, operations, and emergency response practices to adapt to climate change.
Read the 2020 Climate Implementation Plan Summary Pullout to learn more about the steps we took to advance energy resilience in the face of climate change.
Storm Hardening: Ongoing
We have spent more than $1 billion on storm hardening since 2012. This has helped us avoid nearly 1.2 million customer interruptions to date.
- Making sure we have extra resources when our customers need us most. Nearly 1,000 additional contractors from all over the country have pledged 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.
- In 2020, we allocated $13 million for tree trimming, and $1.5 million for hazardous tree removal to prevent trees from interfering with our overhead power lines. We expect to invest an additional $1.2 million to remove trees to protect our equipment and prevent power outages.
- Invested over $30 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 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.
- Used smart meters to give us near-real-time visibility into customer outages so we could mount a more efficient storm response. 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: 2020-2023
- Developed the Climate Change Implementation Plan to systematically incorporate climate change into planning, design, operations, and emergency response practices.
- Created an internal climate change planning and design guideline to refine the tools, methods, and approaches of incorporating resilience and adaptation into the business.
- Established a climate change governance structure to continue to incorporate climate change into existing processes and practices.
- Released an updated Climate Change Vulnerability Study in September 2023 with the latest climate data.
- Released a new Climate Change Resilience Plan in November 2023 with an integrated business strategy using climate resilience driven investments.
A Resilient Future: 2024+
- Continue to take proactive steps to increase the resilience of our energy infrastructure by incorporating climate-change adaptation measures, tools, and approaches into engineering and planning.
- Construct new assets and enhance existing infrastructure to better withstand the physical impacts of climate change.
- Implement the resilience investments outlined in the Resilience Plan and maintain a safe and resilient electric grid.
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 latest climate studies and projections, we continue to work to maintain a safe working environment, provide support for our customers and communities, and sustain operational excellence in the face of climate change.
2023 CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENCE PLAN (PDF)
2023 CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENCE PLAN – APPENDICES (PDF)
2023 CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY STUDY (PDF)
2023 CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY STUDY – 2-PAGE SUMMARY (PDF)
2020 CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENCE & ADAPTATION: SUMMARY OF 2020 ACTIVITIES SUMMARY (PDF)
2020 CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENCE & ADAPTATION – 2020 2-PAGE SUMMARY PULLOUT (PDF)
2019 CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY STUDY 2019 (PDF)
2019 CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY STUDY – APPENDICES (PDF)
2019 CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY STUDY – SUMMARY PRESENTATION (PDF)
2013 POST-SANDY ENHANCEMENT PLAN (PDF)