LARCHMONT, N.Y. – Con Edison recently installed new "smart switches" in Larchmont as part of an initiative to prevent wide-spread power outages during storms.
The switches, which allow the utility company to isolate damaged equipment, are intended to be installed throughout Westchester County and New York City in a $1 billion in storm protection plan to help minimize electrical outages.
Con Ed said Westchester is expected to receive $130 million in these protection measures. The utility company plans to install 235 of the remotely operated switches in Westchester and in the five boroughs, according to a CBS New York report .
Smart switches were installed on Vanderburgh Avenue in Larchmont on Friday.
Kevin Smith, CEO of Con Ed, told CBS New York that if a tree knocks out a power line, in the past 900 customers would’ve been out of service. Now, smart switches will minimize that to about 450 customers, he said.
Last year, Superstorm Sandy caused more than 1 million customer power outages in Con Edison’s service area, including more than 320,000 in Westchester County.
Some of Con Edison’s storm improvement plans for Westchester include:
- Installing hundreds of “smart switches” to isolate damaged equipment to help reduce the number of homes that lose power when a tree knocks down a power cable. Thirty-five switches have been installed, with plans for an additional 200 installations in the coming months.
- Installing 4,000 feet of stronger, tree-branch resistant aerial cable.
- Installing utility poles in storm-prone areas that are 15 percent stronger and able to withstand wind gusts of up to 110 mph.
- Deploying thousands of overhead isolation devices to reduce customer outages and facilitate faster restoration.
- Implementing a pilot program using special connectors, allowing customer service wires from the street to the home to detach easily, avoiding damage to utility poles or to the customer’s home.
- Creating software for rapid damage assessment information on electronic tablets or hand-held devices.
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