October Con Ed Storm Response Summary

Ivy A. Pool
Council Member
Town Board liaison to the Community Preparedness Committee

On October 16, 2018 a meeting was held at Con Edison’s headquarters to review actions the utility company has taken to improve storm response and communications in the aftermath of the winter storm events in March 2018. I am pleased to share that Con Ed has taken many positive steps forward, several of which are the direct result of the feedback and ideas put forward by towns like ours, as well as the recommendations from United Westchester, the committee chaired by County Executive George Latimer and NYS Assemblyman David Buchwald. Improvements include:

• Investing $100 mil over a 4-year period to improve its overhead system. This includes replacing poles, creating more “breakaway” power lines, and adding stronger “steel messenger” cables.
• Improving access to resources to restore power during extended outages by hiring staff, local contractors, and developing retainer agreements for regional contractors.
• Developing reciprocal agreements with west coast mutual aid crews to fly workers to Westchester. 100 trucks have been purchased to be ready for out-of-town crews to use when they arrive. This recommendation was made by our County Legislator, Mike Kaplowitz, who discussed this opportunity during our post-storm Community Conversation.
• Development of a $2 mil pilot program in Cortlandt, through which Con Ed-contracted arborists are working with municipal staff and property owners to identify dangerous trees on customers’ properties for removal. The Town is requesting that we are “next in line” for this program.
• Smart meters will be fully implemented across Westchester by December 2019. Currently 200,000 smart meters have been deployed, about 50% of the total number to be installed.
• Upgrading communications, including a “real time” estimated time of restoration (ETR) update.
• Greater reliance on text messaging, based on feedback received about how customers wish to communicate with Con Ed. New Castle residents should sign up for this service TODAY by texting REG to OUTAGE (688243). Once registered you can text OUT to report an outage or STATUS to receive a status update.

We are drafting a letter to Con Ed on behalf of our Town to seek updates on the status of removing “double poles,” to learn more about the tree pilot program, and to ask for more information about how ETR updates will be communicated to residents. Please reach out to the Town at stormdamage@mynewcastle.org, if you have questions or feedback.