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NYC’s Con Ed says it’s preparing for next storm

By: Associated Press |

Consolidated Edison is preparing for the next big storm by building platforms and walls to protect vital equipment from flooding, CEO Kevin Burke said Tuesday.

“There is a lot more work to do,” said Burke, who was sharply criticized after Superstorm Sandy last fall when 975,000 Con Ed customers in New York City and Westchester County lost power — with tens of thousands still out after 10 days.

Speaking at the Con Ed power station on East 13th Street that flooded during Sandy, Burke showed reporters a 5-foot concrete wall around a building that houses signal relay equipment.

He said Con Ed, mindful that the hurricane season starts June 1, has built over a mile of similar walls to guard against flooding.

Burke said Con Ed plans to invest $1 billion over the next four years in storm protection work. The federal government is unlikely to reimburse Con Ed for any of the expenses, he said.

Con Ed’s preparations also include installing stronger overhead cable that won’t be taken down by tree branches and using water-resistant sealant in conduits containing electrical circuits, Burke said.