Con Ed reopens East Village substation after Sandy

Tim Fleischer reports the power company upgraded after Superstorm Sandy
October 21, 2013 1:55:17 PM PDT
Almost a year after Superstorm Sandy knocked out power to millions, Con Ed has spent more than $100 million to make sure the lessons learned from the disaster are not lost.

Who can forget the scene along the Williamsburg waterfront as Sandy's surging sea water caused circuit breakers to explode at the East 13th Street substation, leaving many in the dark. As transformers shut down, the plant was unable to send electricity to most of Lower Manhattan.

Supplying power to 250,000 customers, the Con Ed substation experienced the unthinkable.

Now the utility is taking steps to better protect us from another Sandy.

"In this case we raised the equipment up to about a three and a half foot elevation on a platform, to protect us from any future flooding," said area substation manager Vic Faster.

Almost a year since Sandy's disasatrous effects, many improvements have been made to Con Ed's electrical substation.

Waterproof gates have been added to a surrounding flood wall that stands 18 feet above sea level.

"There are many of these style doors, so we will have manpower line up to go ahead and do that," said Faster.

Con Ed will spend $100 million by year's end for what officials call "storm hardening" of this and other critical substations.

"We have a high degree of confidence that what we're doing is going to prevent customers from losing power in a similar storm like Sandy," said Con Ed engineer Griffin Reilly.

Inside the substation, there are additional precautions, including more floodwalls and waterproof doors which can be closed and locked in a matter of moments.

"In order for us to be able to provide reliable energy to the customer, these are things that are now a requirement," said Faster.

And some of it is made specifically by Con Ed workers.

"Ultimately our goal is to reduce the amount of customers that go out and try to bring them back faster," said Reilly.