Westchester issues recommendations for utilities to improve communications during storms

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WHITE PLAINS – United Westchester wants Con Edison and NYSEG to improve communication with municipalities, and they want Altice and Verizon to upgrade their infrastructure.  Those are just two of the 42 recommendations that United Westchester makes for those electric utility and telecommunications companies in the group’s Storm Response Report, in light of Tropical Storm Isaias.

 Westchester County Executive George Latimer, State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, and United Westchester have released a Storm Response Report with detailed analyses and recommendations to address the failures of the electric utility and telecommunications companies in Westchester. 

 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

 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 several days and disrupted telephone, cable, and internet services – services that are particularly essential due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 United Westchester is a group of local, county, and state officials that have worked together since 2018 to implement significant and necessary improvements to storm response efforts in Westchester County.