State regulators on Friday will review a $385 million plan for Con Edison to use new grid technology to streamline electricity flow and avert crippling blackouts.
Consumers would pay almost half – about $176 million – a one-time hike added to bills over three years that averages $57 per customer. The tab will vary depending on usage. Big businesses, like a Wall St. brokerage, might pay more, while residents would pay less, Con Ed officials said.
Under proposals before the state Public Service Commission, sensors and other devices would be placed throughout the 94,000 miles of Con Ed’s network to continuously update a central computer on power use and possible breakdowns.
“We’ll get advance knowledge of equipment failure in a particular area and be able to reroute electricity around that area to prevent a loss of power,” said Aubrey Braz, a Con Ed vice president in charge of smart grid technology.
The likelihood of large feeder cables burning out during peak demand on hot summer days – incidents that triggered the Washington Heights blackout of 1999 and the Long Island City blackout of 2006 – would be minimized with the automated system, he said.