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ConEd getting there with storm defences

Con Edison has passed the half-way point in its four-year plan to provide a comprehensive storm defense system to protect New Yorkers from the kinds of widespread infrastructure damage that ravaged the area in 2012 during Superstorm Sandy.

Ahead of the second anniversary of the devastating storm, Con Edison planners, engineers and field crews have been working to fortify underground and overhead energy delivery systems from severe flooding and destructive winds characteristic of major storms.

Con Edison’s four-year, storm-hardening plan, called Fortifying the Future, at a cost of $1 billion, is already paying off for customers in New York City and Westchester. The company estimates that the installation of specialized remote switches and other storm hardening equipment has prevented about 25,000 storm-related outages so far this year.

Improvements range from submersible equipment to check underground network to redesigning overhead cables.
Improvements range from submersible equipment to check underground network to redesigning overhead cables.

Post-Sandy storm measures include the installation of more than 3,000 devices that isolate and clear temporary faults on overhead electrical systems, and more than 150 “smart switches” – both minimize customer outages caused by fallen trees.

Con Ed has redesigned 100 electrical wire service connections that detach more easily from utility poles, reducing damage to customers’ property and the pole.

It has constructed more than one mile of concrete flood walls around critical equipment in electrical substations and steam generating stations.

And the utility company has redesigned underground electrical networks in lower Manhattan to de-energize customers in flood zones during major flooding, while keeping customers on higher ground in service.

260 pieces of submersible equipment have been installed in flood zones to facilitate faster restoration and 3,000 foam seals in have been placed in conduits, and more than 180 watertight flood doors, in electric substations and steam generating stations.

During a future storm, 175 submersible remote monitoring devices will be able to assess steam equipment.

Work still in progress since Sandy includes installing manholes and conduits at 47 locations to house submersible remote monitoring devices for the steam system;
• Installing three large steam isolation valves to help reduce coastal storm impacts on steam customers’ equipment and installing large isolation gates to prevent storm surges from the East River and Hudson River from entering into three steam stations.
• Continuing system-wide electric delivery system improvements, including the installation of 22 network transformers, two new feeders, 78 overhead transformers, and reinforcement of 69 feeders by upgrading 308 sections of cable.
• Installing stronger, tree-branch resistant aerial power lines, and utility poles that withstand wind gusts up to 110 mph.
• Installing 2,800 special vent line protectors to prevent water from entering gas service lines, and replacing cast iron and steel gas pipes in flood-prone areas.
• Elevating a critical substation control room significantly above estimated storm surge levels, and converting to more resilient fiber optic-based equipment.
• Installing new concrete and steel storm surge walls around 8 substations in coastal flood areas.
• Installing back-up electric generators at 8 major electric and steam facilities to power flood control equipment during a major storm event.

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