Con Edison Proposes Long-Term Investments to Protect System From Climate Change
Upgrades Would Prevent Outages, Protect Public Safety
Con Edison today proposed the next generation of investments to enhance system resilience and protect its customers from severe heat waves, storms and floods, as the pace of climate change accelerates.
The company’s Climate Change Resilience Plan proposes equipment upgrades throughout New York City and Westchester County and builds on Con Edison’s efforts to focus on disadvantaged communities, so that all New Yorkers benefit from a clean and just energy transition.
The projects include continuing to strategically place overhead electric lines underground to protect them from storms; raising critical infrastructure; improving the water resiliency of equipment in flood zones; and using technology to improve customer communications during emergencies.
The goal is to prevent outages and other service problems that are inconvenient, disruptive, costly for the economy and, in many instances, a public safety hazard.
“Our climate change research with NYSERDA and Columbia University shows that extreme weather in our region is an increasingly urgent threat,” said Tim Cawley, Con Edison’s chairman and CEO. “We must continue to make investments in our system to serve our customers in higher temperatures and more frequent and severe storm conditions. Con Edison is committed to helping New York meet its clean energy goals while also maintaining our industry-leading service reliability and resiliency.”
The proposal to the New York State Public Service Commission follows Con Edison’s Climate Change Vulnerability Study that found temperatures are rising faster than previous climate science projected.
The study, which was completed in September, cited Hurricane Ida and Tropical Storm Isaias in noting that severe events pose increasingly greater threats to Con Edison’s region in the coming decades.
The investments the company proposes in today’s filing include:
- Replacing 103 miles of overhead wires and 36 miles of underground wires to minimize outages due to contact with trees or debris.
- Replacing 391 underground transformers and network protectors within flood zones with units that work even when submersed in water. This improves the resiliency of the system during flooding events.
- Adding switches and splitting some cables on the underground delivery system so that the cables follow two paths, improving performance during extreme heat.
- Adding two weather-monitoring stations in Westchester County. The stations provide insights on weather and climate, including real-time and long-term data, to help predict weather events and allow for more advanced preparation.
- Construction of “green infrastructure” such as rain gardens, bioswales, permeable pavement, and natural retention ponds to absorb rainwater and reduce flooding on company property. Also, replacing invasive species with native vegetation to reduce runoff and allow for line clearance.
- Testing new personal protective equipment that helps workers stay cool in extreme heat. Reducing the effects of heat stress on workers protects the employees and makes them more efficient in responding to outages and other service issues.
Continuing with Post-Sandy Strategy
The projects would build on Con Edison’s ongoing resiliency work and the more than $1.1 billion in storm-fortification investments Con Edison has made since Hurricane Sandy, the most devastating storm in the region’s recorded history.
The investments made since Sandy have prevented more than 1.2 million customer outages, according to the company’s research.
The six worst storms in the company’s history, as measured by the number of customer outages, have all occurred since 2010.
To make the appropriate upgrades Con Edison would invest approximately $903 million between 2025 and 2029. Based on the expected in-service dates for the proposed projects, the company estimates those investments would result in a rate impact to customers of $173 million during the five years.
That could result in a residential bill increase of about $1.12 per month for a customer using 280 kilowatt hours to about $1.70 for a customer using 425 kilowatt hours.
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $16 billion in annual revenues and $64 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam, and serves 3.6 million customers in New York City and Westchester County. For financial, operations and customer service information, visit conEd.com. For energy efficiency information, visit coned.com/energyefficiency. Also, visit us on Twitter and Facebook.