A group of Westchester officials released a report Monday with recommendations to address the failures of utilities and telecommunications companies after last August’s tropical storm Isaias, which left much of Westchester without power and internet for days.
United Westchester, a coalition of local, county and state officials that has been working on utility storm response since 2018, wants Con Edison and NYSEG to improve communication with municipalities, and they want Altice and Verizon to upgrade their infrastructure, according to a release from United Westchester, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, and New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.
On August 4, 2020 Tropical Storm Isaias hit New York with heavy rain, and winds gusting up to 70 miles per hour. The storm left thousands of Westchester residents without power for multiple days and disrupted telephone, cable, and internet services — services that are particularly essential due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
United Westchester Co-Chair Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said: “Our service providers know what went wrong. They now need to address the issues and recommendations set forth in the report so that power restoration efforts in Westchester County can be significantly improved.”
Among the other recommendations for Con Edison and NYSEG:
- The use of Smart Meters to track customers who are without power, creating a live interactive outage map for public viewing
- A regularly updated and shared list of critical facilities
- An updated map of Con Edison’s grid provided to each municipality
- Better internal communications in Con Edison between management, field and workers.
- The creation of the utility reserve corps
- Better supply and distribution of dry ice
- A ten-year storm hardening plan and implementation
Among the recommendations for Altice and Verizon:
- Improved coordination with electric utility companies during post-storm restoration efforts
- Fixing customer service tools and availability
- Providing municipal officials with operational contacts
- Giving customers credits when they lose access to telecommunications services
- For Altice, upgrading infrastructure and powering network nodes during power outages
The full report can be read here: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/Amy-Paulin/story/94811