News Flash

News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: October 14, 2023

Con Ed has started work placing wires underground in Hartsdale (Birchwood)

work started this week on a pilot program that could result in fewer outages.
Hopefully, experiment will work and program will spread in coming years

CON ED STARTED WORK THIS WEEK PLACING WIRES UNDERGROUND ON BIRCHWOOD LANE AND RICHARD TERRACE IN HARTSDALE


GOAL: TO REDUCE POWER OUTAGES ---IF EXPERIMENT WORKS COULD LEAD TO ADDITIONAL LOCATIONS WHERE UNDERGROUND WORK WOULD TAKE PLACE



Hartsdale residents impacted by Con Edison’s pilot program to bury wires in their neighborhood on house by house basis, got to meet with utility reps for a presentation and Q&A  recently at a Town Board work session.  After the meeting Con Ed started digging up Birchwood Road in Hartsdale. Work will continue till April of 2024 when wires on that street will be underground.

You can watch the full presentation and discussion here: https://youtu.be/N_XtKfiacuw

Con Edison has piloted a similar “selective undergrounding” project in various neighborhoods in New York City and Westchester counties with no complaints or issues thus far. Closest to us, they have successfully buried lines in the Strawberry Road/Foothill neighborhood of Yorktown. 

The program aims to provide more reliable service to customers in neighborhoods most prone to outages, as determined by engineering and data analysis. In this case, the Birchwood Lane loop, very dense with trees, has experienced 34 hours of outages in seven events since 2017 with 59 customers affected. So far, 15 customers have opted in. 

Whether or not customers opt in, all will benefit from the roadway loop work. The lines that are currently top and second-tier wires on the telephone poles will get trenched into the roadway, allowing the utility to then shorten these poles. Should their individual conditions prove favorable, customers who choose to participate will also see their individual connections go underground. Whether they participate or not, the work will greatly reduce chances of outages from what are largely tree-related problems resulting from heavy rain, wind and storms. 

The project involves the installation of a number of transformers and junction boxes on certain lawns and designated spots throughout the neighborhood. The boxes would be dangerous to sit on or spend any time in close proximity of, so landscaping surrounding the boxes (allotting for required clearance for access) would be ideal to keep people. especially children, safely away from these structures. 

The neighborhood was given a few walk-throughs and has time to still opt in at no cost to them. If they decide to join later when the project is complete, the cost would be on them. For this pilot program, Con Edison is footing the entire bill in the interest of increasing resiliency in certain neighborhoods. 

The project started with communication to customers in August and is scheduled to end in April 2024 with roadways restored with new paving from curb to curb and any disturbances to customer property/landscaping completely remedied. 

I have been pushing Con Ed to place wires underground for many years. This is an article that appeared in the NY Times in 2006 after I started a lobbying effort to encourage Con Ed to try experimenting with this. I'm very excited about this initiative. If Con Ed gradually takes steps to reduce outages -we won't experience as many long term outages.  In the past many ratepayers in Greenburgh and Westchester have been without power for up to two weeks at a time --during the freezing winter and hot summer months.

https://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/nyregion/for-con-ed-it-may-be-time-to-go-underground.html

PAUL FEINER

Greenburgh Town Supervisor

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