Does the sight of rain clouds make you nervous about a power outage? Con Edison has launched a plan to implement measures that will protect its electric, gas, and steam systems from the effects of climate change.
The utility is required by the New York State Public Service Commission to invest $2.4 billion in grid resiliency, including $1 billion for storm hardening in response to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy and other extreme weather events.
The order will confirm Con Edison’s voluntary commitment to conduct a Climate Change Vulnerability Study in 2014, which will provide important guidance on how the utility can best prepare for rising sea levels, more intense storms, heat waves, and other potential effects of a changing climate.
Grid efficiency is also being investigated. The utility will:
- Evaluate alternative strategies such as critical peak pricing to reduce load during heat events, create rate options that will encourage smart charging of electric vehicles, and empower customers to make smarter, lower-carbon energy-use decisions.
- Identify areas where high-efficiency cogeneration systems and microgrids could be placed to reduce system load, isolate outages, and provide refuges of power islands.
- Explore ways to utilize energy storage and increase demand response projects.
- Embark on a study to quantify low-risk methane leaks in order to prioritize and accelerate their repair.
Over the next four years, Con Edison will focus on redesigning underground networks, flood-proofing vulnerable facilities, investing in smart-grid technologies, upgrading overhead systems, burying select overhead lines, protecting gas systems from flooding, and reinforcing critical tunnels.
Delivery charges will remain fixed for the next three years, at which time customers can expect a 2% increase in pricing.