Con Edison CEO talks storm hardening, outage preparedness

Con Edison chairman and CEO Kevin Burke told shareholders that while the company plans to invest $1 billion over the next four years for storm protection measures, a key factor is working with others so customers can receive power quicker after disasters.

“Utilities, government agencies, the MTA, and the building and hospital communities are joining forces,” Burke said. “To succeed, we must work together. Our plans won’t matter if we can deliver energy but customers cannot receive power.”


Con Edison is investing in stronger storm-resistant cable and poles, and has stepped up installations of new smart switches on overhead lines. The company has installed new underground switches in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn coastal communities, which will help protect customers in the event of another major storm.

Efforts also are underway to install higher and stronger flood barriers and raise critical equipment. Plans also have been expanded to replace cast iron and steel pipes in the company’s natural gas network, with installation of special float-check valves underway to protect gas service from floods.

While this work is ongoing, the company’s commitment to a greener New York also continues. The number of large New York buildings that switched to natural gas from fuel oil increased 175 percent. Con Edison’s energy efficiency programs also have resulted in an area carbon-emission reduction of 190,000 tons, with more than 150,000 customers upgrading energy equipment with the help of $118 million in incentives.

Burke also recognized the efforts of Con Edison employees who responded in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and the subsequent nor’easter that upended people’s lives last fall, leaving nearly 1.4 million of the company’s customers without power:

“Our crews responded with incredible compassion and resolve. Like other first responders, our men and women worked while others slept. Some left their own families in the dark to restore the homes of others. I am certain,” he told the shareholder audience, “everyone in the room shares my pride in our men and women.”

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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