Con Ed proposes new storm-protection measures

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If the flooding that Sandy brought in were to happen again, Con Ed wants to be prepared.THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen
If the flooding that Sandy brought in were to happen again, Con Ed wants to be prepared.

If a Sandy-esque storm were to come in the future, power company Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) wants to be prepared.

The electric company recently submitted plans that detail major investments to protect “critical equipment and customers from devastating storms” like Sandy, according to a Con Ed statement.

Long-term projects such as putting flood-proof equipment in low-lying areas, building higher flood walls around facilities, reinforcing overhead equipment and putting overhead lines underground to limit outages were proposed so that in the case that the Greater New York area is struck by another storm, Con Ed customers will be that much more protected.

However, the plans do not come without a price, and Con Ed estimates that price to be about $1 billion, which could be acquired through 2016, partly through federal funding. Also, Con Ed itself has committed $250 million to spend this year and next year on storm protection measures.

“We must invest in our systems in new ways to maintain safe, reliable service,” said Con Ed President, Craig S. Ivey.

To provide the remaining initial funding for this storm-protection effort, Con Ed proposed one-year delivery rates for electric, gas and steam services. This would raise a Con Ed customer’s electric bill only by 3.3 percent and gas by 1.3 percent. Due to fuel cost saving efforts, steam bills would decrease.

“Although the economy is improving, we are still working diligently to hold down costs for our customers,” said Ivey. “At the same time, the increased frequency and damage of storms assaulting our areas presents a major challenge.”

The company said that in the future, it is also committed to providing customers with “more accurate, individual restoration times,” as well as offering text messaging and other mobile communications for customers.

Con Ed’s new rate plans will be subject to an 11-month review, and if approved would cover the 2014 pay period.

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