NEW YORK, NY --With a busy 2017 Atlantic hurricane season still in progress, Con Edison’s $1 billion storm hardening fortifications continue to hold strong five years after Hurricane Sandy unleashed the hardest hit of electric outages in the company’s history.
The one-two punch from Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012 and a Nor'easter that followed the next week created a company record 1.1 million customer outages in New York City and Westchester County.
The strike back with Con Edison’s four-year Fortifying the Future storm hardening program began in 2013 with the installation of more than 1,000 "smart" switches on its overhead system, submersible equipment that can withstand flooding, redesigned underground electrical networks, and numerous other steps to avoid outages.
To date, more than 250,000 electric outages have been prevented as a result of these stringent improvements.
The energy company spent $847 million on the upgrades, including $291 million in 2016, the last year of the program.
The installation of "smart switches" designed to isolate and clear trouble on overhead electrical system lines is a key to the program. The installations prevent fewer homes and businesses from losing power when a tree, wind or heavy, wet snow brings down a line.
Con Edison also redesigned two electrical networks in Lower Manhattan, allowing operators to leave inland customers in service when the operators have to de-energize equipment to protect it from flooding.
Con Edison's post-Sandy storm hardening program 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.
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $49 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York.