NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – This past march, a series of storms resulted in power outages for thousands of Westchester County customers.
Representatives from across the county got together to make recommendations to Con Ed to avoid a repeat following future storms.
On Tuesday, the utility company unveiled their improved storm response plan.
More than 150,000 homes were without power for days. Some were in the dark for weeks.
Con Ed’s president Timothy Cawley outlined what steps the company will take to prevent this from happening again.
“The first thing is we’ll invest $100 million in storm resiliency in our overhead system,” Cawley said.
That will cover things like stronger poles and breakaway power lines to reduce a storm’s impact on the system. Con Ed has plans in place to get more and earlier access to additional workers. Contracts are already in place with utility crews on the west coast.
“If there’s an eastern storm, the west coast should be clear, we’ll fly them in and we’ll lease about 100 bucket trucks to outfit them so that can increase our staffing and immediately hit the ground with more staffing,” Con Ed’s president explained.
Con Ed created a pilot program to remove hazardous trees on private property. They’ll work with municipalities to remove them before a storm hits.
They’ll also be upgrading systems to improve accuracy and timeliness of power restoration information. The utility plans to use text messages and web features to better communicate with customers after a storm.
CBS2 talked to people in some of Westchester County’s hardest hit neighborhoods to see what they think of Con Ed’s new and improved storm response plan.
“There’s been so many trees on this block that they put caution tape around and then they leave it for a year so it does leave it on Con Ed, so I think they need to work better with the city,” Amanda Capraro told CBS2’s Elise Finch.
“I think those are things that could have been addressed years ago,” Tony Berardi said.
“There are other parts of the country where everything is underground and there are no problems. I think that’s something that should be done,” Wayne Gillman suggested.
Right now that is not a part of the plan, but the $100 million investment will be spent over the next four years.
Con Ed customers won’t see any increases in their bills for these improvements, according to the company, but the hope is that they’ll see better service after major storms.