Following Hurricane Sandy, Council Member Oliver Koppell held a series of meetings, with representatives of Con Edison, to find ways to improve the reliability of the greater Riverdale power grid during inclement weather.
“The discussions focused on the feasibility of undergrounding power cables to improve storm performance and additional strategies that would help galvanize Con Ed’s power grid from storm related disruptions,” Koppell said.
Subsequent to the meetings, Con Ed unveiled the following 3 step plan, some of which is already in progress, for improving storm service:
.Approximately 100 trees have been removed or reduced along Palisade Avenue to minimize tree interference. In addition, street trees throughout Riverdale have been pruned to prevent conflicts.
.The Riverdale Loop, comprised of 7.3 miles of service, will be cut into two smaller loops, which will shield each section from events that occur in the other area, making each section more reliable and resulting in quicker restorations.
. The two smaller loops will have 2 power sources each, or 4 for the entire area, in contrast to the 3 power feeds that currently exist. Six new “smart” (automatic) switches will be added to allow the grid to repower itself remotely in the event of power outages and an additional 4-8 manual fuses will be installed to smaller spur lines at various locations throughout the Riverdale Loop.
Approval for steps 2 and 3 should be received this summer with the work slated for completion by the summer of 2014.
“Because of my persistence with Con Ed,” Koppell said, “the Riverdale Loop will be the first area within the Bronx to receive these system improvements. I will continue to work with the utility to see if selective undergrounding can further improve the performance of our power network, but I am pleased that, for now, the changes being made by Con Ed will ameliorate the problem of electrical service for Riverdale residents in the event of future storms.”Koppell further noted that each of the anticipated improvements will be paid or out of the existing rate base and will not trigger extraordinary rate increases.