NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Con Edison says power outages have been down overall this summer due to new technology and more customer awareness helping keep the city’s grid running smoothly.
Vinny Bell’s Queens auto body shop uses a lot of power. For years he says they’ve dealt with troublesome and costly outages, but not this year.
“There hasn’t been a problem… since last winter,” Bell tells CBS2.
ConEd says it’s no coincidence.
“There definitely has been a state of decline in the amount of widespread outages during the summer since Hurricane Sandy,” company spokesperson Sidney Alverez said.
Since the superstorm, the utility company says they’ve been working to fortify their system to prevent outages like the 2003 blackout.
“Number one is investment in technology, number two is our customers are more aware of energy and are participating in energy efficiency programs,” Alvarez said.
Those programs include the installation of new smart meters that send an alert the minute there’s an outage. ConEd has also restored nearly 100,000 miles of underground cable, and is working to replace 250,000 manhole covers in the city. The old closed covers that are currently deployed cause a buildup of gas, which is bad for underground cables.
The new ones are vented, which help make your electricity more reliable. They’ve also launched a new infrared thermometer program which detects overheating cables before it’s too late.
“If you have a bundle of wires and presuming in their case if you scan each wire and you find one that’s hotter than the others there’s a problem with that wire,” Bell said.
Still, ConEd says the biggest energy saver falls on customers themselves. In many cases, power usage is cut in half because technology is allowing people to control their air conditioners from their smartphones.